ASI comments on the Queen’s Speech feature in The Telegraph and Real Business

The Adam Smith Institute’s comments on the Queen’s Speech have featured in The Telegraph and Real Business.

From The Telegraph:

But Charlotte Bowyer, head of digital policy at the Adam Smith Institute, warned of potential negative consequences from the “heavy-handed” ban.

“Just as incredibly destructive drugs like crystal meth and crack cocaine emerged from a clampdown on less risky drugs, so legal highs fill a void for the recreational drug user.

“A ‘blanket ban’ on psychoactive substances may eliminate high street ‘head shops’, but will push trade underground and encourage a slew of new, even more dangerous alternatives,” she said.

“The fact that everyday substances like caffeine, alcohol and tobacco would be covered by such a ban (and have to be exempted) just shows how all-encompassing and heavy-handed such an approach is. To reduce harm from drug use the government should instead legalise recreational drugs like cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine so they are available with rigorous safety controls.”

Read the full article here.

From Real Business:

Eamonn Butler, director of the Adam Smith Institute, said:

“Greater financial devolution to Scotland will create a healthier public debate there. Instead of ‘How do we spend England’s money?’ attention will turn to ‘How much will Scottish taxpayers be willing to stump up for our generous spending plans?’ The SNP might then find themselves facing a real popular opposition.

“The devolution plans will hit major opposition from English MPs unless there is a credible ‘English votes for English laws’ initiative. It is well beyond time that the West Lothian question was resolved.

Read the full article here.

 

ASI report “The Green Noose” features in The Times

ASI report The Green Noose: An analysis of Green Belts and proposals for reform has featured in in The Times:

The Adam Smith Institute calculated in January that a million homes could be built on the outskirts of London, within walking distance of a railway station, by sacrificing 3.7 per cent of the capital’s green belt.

Read the full article here.

The ASI report, The Green Noose: An analysis of Green Belts and proposals for reform, looks at the Green Belt’s impact on England’s housing shortage. After a comprehensive review of the causes of the housing crisis, it concludes that the planning structure is out of date and in need of radical reform.

Sam Bowman’s comments on the black cab protest feature in The Guardian

Deputy Director Sam Bowman’s comments on the black cab protest (26 May 2015) feature in The Guardian:

Others complained as they were unable to hail black-cab drivers, with Sam Bowman writing: “Row of black cab drivers parked across the road from me. Tried to hail one, but they’re all busy protesting. So I got an Uber instead.”

Press Release: Fear and Lothian in Westminster – reaction to Queen’s Speech

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Head of Communications Kate Andrews: kate@adamsmith.org | 07476 915072

ASI reaction to Queen’s Speech:

Commenting on devolution, Director of the Adam Smith Institute Dr Eamonn Butler said:

Greater financial devolution to Scotland will create a healthier public debate there. Instead of ‘How do we spend England’s money?’ attention will turn to ‘How much will Scottish taxpayers be willing to stump up for our generous spending plans?’ The SNP might then find themselves facing a real popular Opposition.

The devolution plans will hit major opposition from English MPs unless there is a credible ‘English Votes for English Laws’ initiative. It is well beyond time that the West Lothian Question was resolved.

Most other countries give cities far more say over local affairs, and that is reflected in the local pride you see when you visit them. There is a chicken and egg problem, because you have to attract able people into local government – which at present, they see as a waste of time since Whitehall calls the shots. And Conservative MPs will have to grit their teeth when Opposition mayors and councils raise taxes and do things they disapprove of. In the long run, though, it will produce much greater focus on value for money in the provision of local services.

Commenting on childcare subsidies, Head of Communications at the Adam Smith Institute Kate Andrews said:

Childcare costs continue to burden British families, but the government’s pledge to provide more childcare benefits will only exacerbate prices and further distort the market.

Stringent qualification requirements and low mandatory child-to-staff ratios cause prices to skyrocket, making UK childcare costs 27 per cent of average family incomes – the second highest in the OECD. Furthermore, low child-to-staff ratios keep profit margins tight for childcare providers and can prevent them from investing in high quality staff.

It’s high time for the government to break this costly bubble and adopt policies more similar to countries like Denmark and Sweden, which have embraced deregulation to keep costs down.

Commenting on a further crackdown on legal highs, Head of Digital Policy at the Adam Smith Institute Charlotte Bowyer said:

Just as incredibly destructive drugs like crystal meth and crack cocaine emerged from a clampdown on less risky drugs, so legal highs fill a void for the recreational drug user.

A ‘blanket ban’ on psychoactive substances may eliminate high street ‘head shops’, but will push trade underground and encourage a slew of new, even more dangerous alternatives.

The fact that everyday substances like caffeine, alcohol and tobacco would be covered by such a ban (and have to be exempted) just shows how all-encompassing and heavy-handed such an approach is. To reduce harm from drug use the government should instead legalise recreational drugs like cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine so they are available with rigorous safety controls.

Notes to Editors:

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Kate Andrews, Head of Communications, at kate@adamsmith.org | 07476 915072.

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.

IMF fuel subsidies are not what they seem – Sam Bowman writes for the Daily Telegraph

Deputy Director Sam Bowman writes for The Daily Telegraph:

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which usually restricts itself to bailing out indebted eurozone countries, has released a paper claiming that more than five trillion – yes, trillion – dollars is spent annually in subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.

At least, that’s how it was reported by most of the media. When you read the report, it becomes clear pretty quickly that the IMF’s definition of a subsidy is a little different from everyone else’s.

Read the full article here.