Think Pieces

Butler on Museums

Written by | Saturday 11 September 2004

And this fact, that it is the politicians and not the public who pay
the bills, has divided our museums from the public they are supposed to
serve. They don't reflect our culture, but that of the elites in power
- elites who love big projects, and who find a few big budgets easier
to manage than a lot of small ones.

Time that Inheritance Tax died the death

Written by | Tuesday 31 August 2004

But there is mounting outrage, because more and more families are being hit by this tax. HBOS, the big mortgage lender, says that 2.4 million UK homes are now valued above the £263,000 IHT threshold. That's 2.4 million families potentially liable to death taxes - a million more than two years ago.

Time to charge for GP appointments

Written by | Tuesday 24 August 2004

The trouble is that because GP appointments cost nothing, some people do not value them. Because there is no come-back when they abuse the system, people feel free to misuse it. In the worst cases it can mean doctors being called out in the middle of the night to see people with a headache, when taking an aspirin might have been sufficient. Sometimes peak early morning appointments are booked by people who then change their minds without having the courtesy to tell their doctor.

Price Roads! Cut Taxes!

Written by | Saturday 1 January 2000

Huge unfairness. Research by Peter Mumford in the Adam Smith Institute report The Road From Inequity shows that the current system - where we pay for roads through tax on fuel - is completely unfair. People in rural areas have to drive long distances, so they pay a lot. But the roads they use are uncongested, there are few accidents, and they can drive at efficient speeds through relatively unpopulated areas. In towns, by contrast, people drive short distances and so pay little.

How Baby Bonds Grew Up

Written by | Saturday 1 January 2000

It's what?, actually. Back in 1995, the Adam Smith Institute's report The Fortune Account proposed just that idea as a way of funding our precarious present pay-as-you-go pension and social-insurance system. As the report says:

Unbundling the Welfare State

Written by | Saturday 1 January 2000

Cost containment brings problems of its own, most notably problems of complexity and under-provision. Chronic under-provision has been a general feature of the UK public sector as whole for some while now and it arises from the limitations of tax funding as a mechanism for financing the supply of goods and services on which expenditure might be expected to grow faster than national income.

Making corporate control work

Written by | Saturday 1 January 2000

Experience has shown, however, that all such pronouncements need to be considered sceptically. Best practice rather than regulation may indeed be the government's publicly preferred starting point. But judging from their past performance, it is unlikely to be the preferred - or the actual - outcome.


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