Press Release: Autumn Statement and Spending Review

Adam Smith Institute comments on the Autumn Statement and Spending Review:

On the reforms to tax credit cuts, Executive Director Sam Bowman said:

This is the right decision on tax credits, and we applaud the Chancellor for changing his mind. Tax credits are the right way of doing welfare, encouraging people into work and topping up the incomes of the working poor. But now that they have been protected, we should reform the system by making it less complex and automatic, just as PAYE taxation is run.

On changes to business rates and corporation tax, Head of Research Ben Southwood said:

Finally—the government is taking localism and devolution seriously.

Northern Ireland has needed control of its corporation tax rate for years—otherwise business simply flees across the border to the Republic where rates are 12.5%—and this move has been long-awaited.

But the bigger change is giving local authorities and metropolitan areas control of business rates, and more importantly the revenue they generate.

The block grant gave councils little incentive to foster growth in their area. Rates revenues rise when land becomes more valuable, making it worth local authorities’ while to allow as much productive development as possible.

On top of this, local authorities—who own £250bn of fixed assets—will now get 100% of the proceeds if they sell of these assets and use them for reform projects, encouraging them to put all of these assets to their best possible uses.

Notes to Editors:
For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Kate Andrews, Head of Communications, at | 07584 778207.

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.

ASI expectations for the Autumn Statement feature in City AM

The Adam Smith Institute has featured in City AM for our comments on the upcoming Autumn Statement, and what we hope will happen vs what we expect will happen.

The IEA isn’t alone. The Adam Smith Institute (ASI) wants working tax credit cuts reversed, or at least “mitigated significantly”. It’s the money it saves isn’t “terribly substantial, in the grand scheme of things”, and he’d be better off reforming tax credits and the Universal Credit itself to make it much simpler overall – along the lines of the negative income tax.


Read the full article here.

Sam Bowman writes for the IBTimes on why Brits are wrong about the US gun debate

Deputy Director of the ASI, Sam Bowman, has written for the International Business Times on why Britain is wrong about the gun debate in America. He argues the fundamental issues are much less straight forward than most of us assume.

The debate in America is far from where most Britons think it should be – it is simply not realistic, practically or politically, to expect that guns can be banned any time soon, and so the debate in America is over much more fine questions: how long should you have to wait between buying a gun and receiving it? What sort of background checks should would-be gun owners have to go through? Are concealed carry laws a boon to criminals or to their potential victims? What is the right balance between the freedom to own a gun and the freedom not to be threatened with one? These are questions to which there are no easy answers.


Read the full article here.

The Sunday Times covers the ASI’s Ayn Rand Lecture

The Adam Smith Institute’s 2015 Ayn Rand lecture featured in The Sunday Times:

Ken Moelis, veteran investment banker and founder of the eponymous advisory boutique, delivered the Adam Smith Institute’s annual Ayn Rand lecture. Moelis, 57, opened his speech on the state of finance with a paean to the libertarian author and her most famous book, Atlas Shrugged.

“I’ve read it four different times,” he boasted: at 17, 25, 47, and in his fifties after he started Moelis & Co. The most recent time he decided to dog-ear each interesting page. “The whole book was dog-eared,” Moelis said. Trust an investment banker to tell his audience what they want to hear.

Kate Andrews and Ken Clarke battle it out over tax credits and the welfare state in Prospect magazine

Kate Andrews, Head of Communications at the Adam Smith Institute, took part in a debate piece with Ken Clarke for Prospect magazine. In it, they both agree the welfare system is in need of reform , but should the tax credit cuts be rethought too? Kate Argues YES:

It’s easy to understand why people might be conflicted about tax credits. On the one hand, tax credits are a direct handout from the state, often given to those only working part-time. On the other, they incentivise work and benefit those at the bottom on relatively low pay.

Combine this internal conflict with the UK’s welfare structure as a whole, and it would seem necessary for the government to implement some kind of reform to the various systems, tax credits included.

But the Chancellor is only interested in cuts, not reform.

Read the full article here.