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Britain needs to leave the European Union, which over 43 years of membership has proven to be sclerotic, anti-democratic and immune to reform. It is a political relic of a post-war order that no longer exists.The best exit route is for the UK to step back to a position in the European Economic Area (‘EEA’) and the European Free Trade Association (‘EFTA’), thereby wholly maintaining the open trading arrangements of the single market and related economic integration.
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An increasing number of EU regulations are made at the global level and not by the EU bureaucracy, which mainly performs a ‘wholesaler’ role, enforcing rules without creating them anew. The UK often does not have a full voice at the global level because of the EU’s need for a ‘common position’.
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The EU referendum campaign is presenting us two competing choices. On the one hand a vision of Britain as part of a steadily-integrating EU (at whatever speed) or a vision of Britain completely outside it.
Nigel Hawkins, in his new ASI paper, reviews the big numbers in the Whole Government Accounts, and finds that Britain's government liabilities go far beyond the national debt. In order to ensure stability in security in public finances into the future, he argues that the government must cut back further, as well as selling off some of the assets mentioned in his previous paper Cash in the Attic.
Read the paper here.
In The UK and the World in 2050, Madsen Pirie looks ahead to the world in thirty years time and, based on existing scientific advances, considers how we might use technology to solve problems like climate change and world hunger.
Fredrik Segerfeldt argues that migration benefits not only migrants from developing countries but also the family and friends that they leave behind. The idea of 'brain drain,' that the outward flow of the best and brightest inhabitants of a developing country adversely affects that country's prospects, is not borne out in the empirical data, while remittances are shown to significantly ameliorate poverty.
Ryan H. Murphy argues the case that our typical understanding of status signaling - 'conspicuous consumption' - has become outmoded. The 'new aristocrats' focus their energies instead on signaling their virtue, as internet activism and environmentalism replace the ostentatious diamond rings of old.
Anthony J Evans lays out the first, second and third best policies for monetary reform. He outlines reforms to quantitative easing policy that would reduce the distortions it causes; argues that inflation targeting and the Monetary Policy Committee should be replaced by an automatic nominal GDP target; and ultimately says the Bank of England should be scrapped altogether, replaced with privately-run ‘free banking’.
• Green Belts are unsustainable. Urban containment policies push up rents and house prices and generally increase the cost of living, force households into ever smaller homes and more cramped transport, and are harmful to the environment. This hugely depresses people’s quality of life.
• In The Green Noose we recommended a policy of “Abolish and Protect”, whereby substantial parts of the existing Green Belt would be re-designated under other land-use classifications, while the remainder would be available for development. This would allow markets to operate and so ensure that welfare-maximising solutions emerged.
• However, debates about Green Belt policy always descend into demands to know where development will take place, or claims that every hectare of declassified land would be concreted over. While the former misunderstands the role of planning policy, and the latter is disingenuous, such arguments are almost impossible to avoid.
• This paper seeks to provide examples of where development could take place. As it is location-specific, we have chosen to focus on one Green Belt – the Metropolitan Green Belt around London. In doing so we (artificially) distinguish between the Metropolitan Green Belt and “London Green Belt” (i.e. those parts of the Metropolitan Green Belt within the boundaries of Greater London).
• Our aim is not to prescribe sites for development, but to demonstrate that there is ample land within the Metropolitan Green Belt that would be suitable for development and could be built upon without undermining the overall purpose of Green Belt policy (as defined by the NPPF).
• We look at six scenarios:
1. Declassify Metropolitan Green Belt land within walking distance of a rail way station
2. Declassify Green Belt land in London within cycling distance of a railway station
3. Allow development of Green Belt golf courses
4. Infill areas of Green Belt that do not support Green Belt Policy
5. Remove agricultural land from the Green Belt
6. Declassify and re-use of already developed Green Belt land.
• Each of these would make a dramatic contribution to meeting housing need in London and the South East; in three cases, a single measure would more than meet all additional housing need until 2030.