Dr. Eamonn Butler's letter features in the Evening Standard

Director of the Adam Smith Institute, Dr. Eamonn Butler, has had his letter regarding the prospect of Lord Turner being the Governor of the Bank of England featured in the Evening Standard.

Lord Turner's keenness for "printing money" is no virtue, but precisely why he should not be a "candidate for Governor of the Bank of England" [City Comment, November 5]. It was the bank's easy money and cheap credit policies that set off this boom-bust cycle in the first place. And their hair-of-the-dog remedy - record low interest rates - just delays an even bigger hangover. We need central bankers who fear making things too easy to be true, not ones who enthuse about it.

Kate Andrews writes for the IBTimes on the issues with Equal Pay Day

Head of Communications at the Adam Smith Institute, Kate Andrews, wrote an article for the IBTimes on why the 'gender wage gap' is not really a gap at all, and discusses how the figures have been manipulated ahead of Equal Pay Day.

Apparently, Equal Pay Day is meant to raise awareness about the inequalities between men and women in the workplace. But in reality, it provides a platform for manipulated statistics to be bandied about, and encourages women to adopt a dangerous (and unnecessary) victimhood mentality in the workplace.

Read the full article here. 

 

Should more be done to block cheap Chinese steel imports? | Tim Worstall argues NO in City AM

Senior fellow at the ASI, Tim Worstall, was in City AM this morning for his comments on why subsidised Chinese steel imports are actually good for UK consumers

Far from rejecting cheap Chinese steel, we should thank the oppressed Chinese taxpayer for making us all richer. Subsidies are a distortion to a market and we normally don't like such distortions. But think through what the allegation here is.

The Chinese government is subsidising the price of the steel which is flooding out of China. Some call this a subsidy to those steel producers: it isn’t, it is a subsidy to steel consumers.

Read the full debate here. 

ASI Fellow Preston Byrne has his comments on the Investigatory Powers Bill featured in The Guardian

Preston Byrne, an Adam Smith Institute fellow, has featured in the Guardian for his critique of the IP Bill. He argues it does not effectively tackle terrorism, it just puts the general public at risk.

Preston Byrne, the general counsel for blockchain-based startup Eris Industries, said that “this legislation will not address the problem it’s designed to solve. Terrorists will go dark using off-the-shelf software like GPG and Tor, at the same time as ordinary people and businesses are placed in serious jeopardy because all of their own data is stored somewhere in a way which can be compromised.

Read the full article here. 

The Uber of electricity could be just around the corner | Charlotte Bowyer writes for City AM

Head of Programmes at the Adam Smith Institute, Charlotte Bowyer, wrote for City AM on how cutting back regulation within the energy sector could lead to increases in technology and innovation; revolutionising the industry just like Uber did with taxis. In her article, she also discussed our more recent paper "Power Up: The framework for a new era of UK energy distribution", which found that the UK's current regulatory system severely limits room for innovation in the energy sector.

The current regulatory model was borne out of the privatisation of a vertically-integrated industry, where everything from electricity generation and transmission to distribution was performed by a single utility. The future of electricity generation and distribution will be nothing like this.

And in supposing a natural monopoly and applying a static model of innovation, even well-intentioned interventions have an adverse effect on competition, creating an institutional framework in which supplier innovation is severely hampered.

Read the full article here. 

The report, Power Up: The framework for a new era of UK energy distribution, argues that new technologies such as smart grids and distributed energy production can revolutionise old models of energy distribution and pricing, in the same way that apps like Uber are disrupting traditional models of transport.

New ASI paper 'Power Up' features in City AM

The latest Adam Smith Institute paper, "Power Up: The framework for a new era of UK energy distribution", has featured in City AM for its argument that cutting back red tape regulations can lead to innovative and new ways of energy distribution. 

“Regulating the market too heavily ­– often justified by claims that consumers are being ‘ripped off’ or overwhelmed by the number of tariffs available – closes down consumer experimentation and prevents technological and economic progress, which keeps energy prices high,” the think tank said.

Read the full article here. 

The report, Power Up: The framework for a new era of UK energy distribution, argues that new technologies such as smart grids and distributed energy production can revolutionise old models of energy distribution and pricing, in the same way that apps like Uber are disrupting traditional models of transport.

Press Release: Create an 'Uber for electricity' by deregulating power supply, argues new report

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

  • Energy market experimentation is being held back by risk-averse regulators
  • Technology like smart-meters, microgrids, and distributed generation will take off, if innovators given opportunity to thrive
  • OFGEM should to adopt a system of ‘permissionless innovation’, granting innovators the freedom to experiment without a regulator’s say-so

The UK's energy market is unfit for the modern age, a new report from the Adam Smith Institute argues.

The report, Power Up: The framework for a new era of UK energy distribution, argues that new technologies such as smart grids and distributed energy production can revolutionise old models of energy distribution and pricing, in the same way that apps like Uber are disrupting traditional models of transport.

In a world of expensive of energy prices, the report suggests regulators should encourage experimentation with new technologies, rather than cutting them off at inception. Regulating the market too heavily - often justified by claims that consumers are being 'ripped off' or overwhelmed by the number of tariffs available - closes down consumer experimentation and prevents technological and economic progress, which keeps energy prices high.

The paper envisions a world of choices in the energy market; where smart meters that relay real-time price changes to encourage better energy use are just the beginning. The author, Dr Lynne Kiesling, imagines consumers being able to see where their energy is coming from, and to choose what kind of green-grey energy mix they want.

Most important, Dr Kiesling argues, is for OFGEM to adopt a structure of 'permissionless innovation' - which allows companies to experiment freely without being granted permission from regulators. In the early days of the internet, no-one envisioned a world of Amazon, iPhones and Uber; but these inventions were able to thrive, as there were not limited by regulatory barriers. OFGEM, Kiesling argues, needs to adopt a more relaxed regulatory structure that dismantles the barriers that have been created.

Commenting on the report, author Dr Lynne Kiesling said:

In light of the dramatic innovations in digital technologies in the past two decades, the organisation and regulation of the electricity industry must be free to modernise if Britain is to enjoy the transaction cost reductions and new value propositions that these technologies make possible.
The paper's argument supports the Competition and Markets Authority conclusion that OFGEM's regulations contribute to making energy markets less competitive than they could be. Reducing barriers to bringing innovative energy products and services to market will enable consumers to protect themselves better than regulations that look to slow the pace of change.
ASI Head of Research Ben Southwood said:

Innovation in the production of energy is steaming ahead, with rapid and steady improvement in the effectiveness of renewables like solar, and many changes that make existing fuels cleaner and cheaper to use.

But distribution has enjoyed less in the way of disruption. This is in large part not just because the technology doesn’t exist, but because it is being held back by regulation that makes it unprofitable for consumers and firms to employ it—for example controls on vertical integration.

If the government wants a more fluid, consumer-centred, and futuristic energy distribution network, it should look at carefully deregulating supply.

Notes to Editors:

Download ASI report Power Up: The framework for a new era of UK energy distribution here.

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.

Ben Southwood's comments on sugar tax feature in City AM

Head of Research at the Adam Smith Institute, Ben Southwood, had his comments on a 20% tax on sugar featured in City AM:

However, the tax has come under fierce criticism. Ben Southwood, of the Adam Smith Institute, said:

"GPs, who are excellent doctors but not necessarily fully up-to-date with the empirical nutrition literature, may tell us that sugar is poison now. But the evidence base for this claim is relatively weak. In 30 years, with higher quality, higher powered studies, we could just as easily find no relationship here."

"In general, nutrition is a hard subject, and we should be much more careful before making strong claims. Grand social engineering schemes tend not to work too well, and the government should be careful before giving into the demands of the baying public health lobby on the sugar tax."

Read the full article here.

Tax credits are far, far better than a living wage | Kate Andrews writes for The Telegraph

As part of 'National Living Wage Week', Head of Communications at the Adam Smith Institute, Kate Andrews, wrote an article for The Telegraph on the downfalls of the National Living Wage and why tax credits are a better alternative.

In-work poverty might just be one of the biggest problems the UK will face in upcoming years. The damning combination of low wages and high costs of living is making it impossible for millions of households to liberate themselves from benefits and state support; the price of self-sufficiency has been set so high, even full-time workers can’t afford it.

This recent war over tax credit cuts exemplified this growing problem. Even to those of us who would like the see this government take a more forceful approach in deficit reduction, it seemed illogical to axe away at one of the few benefits that works as a direct cash transfer to the poor, while still incentivizing work.

 

Read the full article here.