Press Release: Let councils replace business rates with a tax on land values

For Immediate Release | For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Kate Andrews at / 07584 778 207

Commenting on the devolution of business rates to local councils, Sam Bowman, Deputy Director of the Adam Smith Institute said:

“What few people, including the Chancellor, seem to realise is that often, it isn’t businesses who bear the cost of business rates, but landowners. Over time, most of any cut in business rates will be offset by a proportionate rise in rents – meaning that it’s predominantly the landlords who benefit from cuts and lose out from rises, not businesses.(eg and Most of the debate around today’s announcement will ignore this crucial fact.

“Business rates discourage investment, because they tax the value of property, and not just the land it is built on. A better idea would be to merge the council tax and business rates systems into a simple tax on land values. This would prevent distortion between whether land is used for residential or commercial purposes, and ensure that business investment is not discouraged. Revaluations can, and should, be done on a regular basis – council tax is in particular need of a revaluation, having never been reviewed since it was first set up in 1993.

“Business rates are far from the ideal. The government would be wise to reform and simplify the current system, to address discrimination between commercial and residential land use.”

Notes to editors:

The Adam Smith Institute is a free market, libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.

Dr Eamonn Butler’s letter on Uber regulations features in The Telegraph

Director of the Adam Smith Institute, Dr Eamonn Butler, has had his letter featured in The Telegraph, denouncing proposed regulations on Uber as ‘regulatory capture’.

Transport for London’s proposed restrictions on Uber are not about “improving safety”. All Uber trips are tracked on GPS, so passengers are perfectly safe. TfL’s plans are designed to kill a popular new technology. The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association has a seat on the TfL board; Uber drivers do not. This is a blatant example of regulatory capture.

The letter can be viewed here. 

Kate Andrews debates the ban on smoking in cars on BBC’s Mark Forrest Show

Head of Communications, Kate Andrews, took part in a debate on whether or not the law banning smoking in cars with children present is justified or not. Kate disagrees with the law, arguing it’s a waste of police time and that the research it is based on is not completely sound. The debate aired on all 39 local BBC radio stations in England and the Channel Islands.

It isn’t the case that we should be saying that its completely fine for parents to smoke in front of their children, and with their children in any situation, what we’re asking is whether or not the police should be getting involved. Is this something so bad that its worth criminalising?

Listen to the full interview here. (Starts 01:12:52)


Have Courage To Be Contrarian| Sam Bowman for Sky News

Deputy Director of the Adam Smith Institute, Sam Bowman, was on Sky News Morning Stories, encouraging people to be more contrarian in how they live their life.

Contrarians are always willing to say maybe we’re wrong. It always pays to keep an open mind, even when we think its totally obvious whats true.

Sam argues it’s beneficial to question things you’re told, and lists 4 easy steps on how to do so.

Watch the full clip here.