Madsen Pirie writes for the Times on EU subsidy of rapeseed

ASI Madsen Pirie writes The Times’s Thunderer column on how EU subsidies of rapeseed add to the nation’s hayfever:

By careful breeding, Canadian scientists produced a low acid version. Rapeseed was transformed, and spread rapidly across Britain, changing the look of the spring landscape with its lurid yellow flowers. Its UK production soared from about 1,000 tonnes in 1970 to more than two million tonnes in just a few years.

It was not the crop itself that made it a farmers’ favourite but the EU subsidy paid to those who planted it. The EU paid cash not for the crop that resulted but to fund the seeds and planting. It was a bonanza for landowners.

Read the full article here (paywall).

Press release: Record EU immigration level is something to celebrate

Commenting on today’s immigration figures, Sam Bowman, Deputy Director at the Adam Smith Institute said:

“Today’s immigration figures – the highest on record for immigrants from the EU – are good news for Britons. The vast majority of these immigrants are here for work or study, and the bulk of the evidence suggests that EU immigrants pay more in taxes than they cost the state in spending. That means less borrowing and lower taxes.

“Immigrants generally do not create unemployment or drive down overall native wages. They bring new skills to the economy and there is some evidence that they create opportunities for low-skilled natives to move into more highly-skilled work, boosting their wages. The fact that these immigrants are voting with their feet to come to the UK is a big vote of confidence in the British economy.

“There is no economic case for limiting freedom of movement within the EU, and the government is wrong to try to cut the number of skilled and student visas for immigrants from outside the EU. Instead of cutting Britain off from the world the government should focus on making the UK a welcoming destination for the best talents the world has to offer.”

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Sam Bowman, Deputy Director at sam@adamsmith.org / 07596826323.

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.

Ben Southwood discusses CPI figures on BBC News

Head of Research at the Adam Smith Institute Ben Southwood spoke to BBC news about the latest CPI figures; he explains the difference between good and bad deflation.

Is Grexit finally off the cards? Sam Bowman argues NO in the CityAM Forum debate

Deputy Director Sam Bowman argues that even as Greece pushes closer to a debt deal, a Grexit is not fully ruled out yet:

Greece is in not one, but two holes. It owes €330bn (£237bn) in national debt, equivalent to 196 per cent of GDP, and its nominal GDP is also at a 13-year low. This means that unemployment cannot come down rapidly, as it has in the UK –where nominal GDP grew healthily after the crisis – so nominal wages will have to fall to a “new normal”. That takes an agonising amount of time, because firms prefer to sack some workers instead of cutting wages across the board. Greece’s future, then, looks to be one of persistent high unemployment. Before this is addressed the country cannot hope to overcome its economic malaise – it is simply not credible to expect supply-side deregulations to deliver the sort of growth Greece needs without a healthy level of nominal spending. That means no solution to the debt problem either. If Greece stays in the Eurozone, it will be on life support for the foreseeable future. It’s hard to rule out Grexit just yet.

Read the full debate here.