Ben Southwood criticizes the Bank of England for hiding details of its lender aid in CityAM

The Adam Smith Institute's Head of Policy, Ben Southwood, was quoted in CityAM, criticizing the Bank of England for hiding its data on lender aid.

And Adam Smith Institute economist Ben Southwood is also critical.

"By purging details of emergency liquidity support from the 170-year-old Bank Return, the Bank of England is trying to paper over its failures by simply hiding them, not to mention moving out of step with almost every major central bank,” he warned.

Read the full article here.

Ben Southwood is quoted in CityAM on the problems with Labour's proposed mansion tax

The Adam Smith Institute's Head of Policy, Ben Southwood, was quoted in two CityAM articles on the problems and inefficiencies of a mansion tax:

Meanwhile Adam Smith Institute's head of policy Ben Southwood dubbed Miliband's measures as "bizarre":
Labour’s proposal to tax expensive houses and hypothecate the funds for the NHS is bizarre. Although property value taxes are among the least inefficient taxes, and shifting the burden from costlier taxes like stamp duty land tax, corporation tax and income tax is a good idea, we already have a perfectly good property tax system: council tax.

Read the full articles here and here.

Press Release: Miliband should fix council tax, not go for mansion tax cash grab

Commenting on Ed Miliband's expected announcement that will propose a mansion tax to further fund the NHS , the Adam Smith Institute's Head of Policy, Ben Southwood, said:

Labour's proposal to tax expensive houses and hypothecate the funds for the NHS is bizarre.

Although property value taxes are among the least inefficient taxes, and shifting the burden from costlier taxes like stamp duty land tax, corporation tax and income tax is a good idea, we already have a perfectly good property tax system: council tax.

The only problem with the council tax system is that, for political reasons, it has not been revalued since 1993, massively distorting the system. It makes no sense to create a whole new property tax system at an arbitrary £2m cutoff point: instead, council tax should be revalued and remodeled along more progressive lines, to reduce the tax burden on people in less expensive properties.

Instead of trying to grab more cash for central government, Ed Miliband should be focused on sorting out the massive distortions in the property tax system instead.

Notes to editors:

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Kate Andrews, Communications Manager, at kate@adamsmith.org / 07584 778207.

The Adam Smith Institute is an independent libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.

Dr Eamonn Butler argues against Miliband's proposal to raise the minimum wage on BBC Five Live

Director of the Adam Smith Institute, Dr Eamonn Butler, took part in a heated debate with Charlie Kimber - National Secretary of the Socialist Workers Party -  on BBC Five Live. Dr Butler argued that Ed Miliband's proposal to raise the minimum wage will make it harder for the poorest in society to find jobs and increase unemployment numbers in the UK.

Charlotte Bowyer argues Google's internet dominance is the result of market choice in the CityAM Forum

The Adam Smith Institute's Head of Digital Policy, Charlotte Bowyer, writes for the CityAM Forum: Is News Corp right that Google’s internet dominance is damaging?

Charlotte Bowyer, a digital policy researcher at the Adam Smith Institute, says No.

It’s true that Google’s size makes issues such as user privacy, data scraping and the make-up of its search algorithms a concern. However, this doesn’t, on balance, mean that Google's dominance is a bad thing.

Its share of the search market was achieved against fierce competition, suggesting nothing more sinister than a superior service. It has also mastered the art of creating valuable, additional products from data that users are happy to provide. This allows it to offer deep, tailored and useful services which add value to our online experience.

And while presenting Google Maps at the top of a search result might reduce traffic to certain sites, it’s hard to see it as detrimental to users’ needs.

Indeed, many of the criticisms News Corp levels against Google stem from its own struggle to achieve a successful online business model. Issues of intellectual property shouldn’t be conflated with the question of market abuse.

Read the full article here.

Press Release: New FA proposals to reduce non-EU players may backfire - and that's a good thing!

Commenting on the Football Association's first draft of proposals to reduce the number of non-EU players within English football, Head of Policy at the Adam Smith Institute, Ben Southwood, said:

The FA's new proposals are very unlikely to achieve their goals, and may actually backfire — but that's a good thing!

Their overall goal—cutting the fraction of non-EU players in the premiership by half—is wrongheaded. Clamping down on foreign players will hurt English club football without helping the English national team, according to the evidence.

Last month, Adam Smith Institute research showed there was no statistically significant link between either current or past prevalence of foreigners and how well England does in European or World Cups.

The actual proposals, however, contain a number of good ideas: automatically granting visas when clubs are willing to pay a large fee; and giving visas to players who play 30%, rather than 75%, of a top 30-ranked international team's games. The old version of the latter rule was too tight and would have kept out, among others, Willian.

The proposals which tighten rules (clamping down on Championship visas, narrowing the visa extent to top 50 rather than top 70, and stopping subjectivity in appeals), though misguided, seem too trivial to have a large negative impact.

Overall most of the proposals are either trivial or welcome, and shouldn't worry us too much. But the attitude and goals that the FA evince should worry us—cracking down on foreign players threatens to wreck English club football while doing nothing to improve the English national team.

Notes to editors:

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Kate Andrews, Communications Manager, at kate@adamsmith.org / 07584 778207.

The Adam Smith Institute is an independent libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.