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 After a comprehensive review of the causes of the housing crisis, it concludes that the planning structure is out of date and in need of radical reform.

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.

Sam Bowman's comments on UK housing prices feature in The IBTimes

Sam Bowman's comments on UK house prices featured in The International Business Times:

One person who does not believe it is a bubble is Sam Bowman, deputy director of the Adam Smith Institute. He said: "It's not a bubble. Values are so high because of restrictions on construction. Prices are higher than they would be if there was more building taking place, so it's not the market that has got it wrong, it's an issue of policy."

Read the full article here.

ASI comments on UK net migration figures feature in The Telegraph

Deputy Director Sam Bowman's comments on EU immigration to the UK features in The Telegraph:

Adam Smith Institute welcomes the findings. Sam Bowman says:

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. 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.

 Read the full coverage here. 

ASI comments on UK net migration figures feature in CityAM

Deputy Director Sam Bowman's comments on EU immigration to the UK features in CityAM:

“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," said Sam Bowman, deputy director at free market think tank the Adam Smith Institute.

“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."

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.

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.