How severe will the cuts due to be outlined in the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) actually be? This short, opinion-free briefing that aims to answer this question, by examining the spending totals outlined in June's Emergency Budget.
A report by financial analyst Nigel Hawkins detailing the £90bn worth of government assets that can be privatized between 2010–2015. The report argues that repeating the highly successful privatization campaigns of the 1980s and 1990s would raise much-needed funds to pay down part of the national debt, and would open up new sectors of the economy to competition.
Our response to the Department of Work & Pensions' '21st Century Welfare' consultation argues in favour of radical welfare reform, endorsing the 'universal credit' subsequently adopted by the government. Its authors note that piecemeal reform of the welfare system is unsuited to overcoming its two chief failings – failing to provide a safety net for the needy and creating perverse incentives against work – and instead suggest sweeping away the existing welfare system and introducing a Universal Credit that pays initial benefits at 50% of the median income, and tapers at 55%.
This briefing paper, by ASI fellows Tim Ambler and Keith Boyfield, notes the extraordinary growth of the UK's regulatory agencies since 1997 and the deleterious consequences for the UK economy. They argue that the UK's regulators should first be restricted to their original, purely economic role, and subsequently merged into a single, competition-focused Office of Fair Trading.
In this article Dr Madsen Pirie discusses private options for university funding, arguing against a graduate tax. He proposes universities follow the Harvard model of funding and that the government should promote bequests to universities through tax relief.
This briefing paper, by lawyer and medical practitioner Anthony Barton, argues that both the legal aid and the Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) systems are flawed in that they give rise to situations which are not economically sustainable or politically acceptable. This paper suggests scrapping civil legal aid in almost all cases, and reforming the CFA system to deter risk-free speculative litigation.
Austrian School economists gave us the ideas of marginal utility, opportunity cost, and the importance of time and ignorance in shaping human choices and the markets, prices and production systems that stem from them. 'Austrian' economics has revolutionised our understanding of what money is, why economic booms invariably turn to damaging busts, why government intervention in the economy is a mistake, the importance of time and information in economic decision-making, the crucial role of entrepreneurship, and how much economic policy is just plain wrong. Eamonn Butler explains these ideas in straightforward, non-technical language, making this Primer the ideal introduction for anyone who wants to understand the key insights of the Austrian School and their relevance and importance to our economic situation today. Now updated with an additional chapter on Contemporary Austrian thinking.
Tom Clougherty discusses the big society agenda and why it is preferable to big government. He argues that big government undermines the complex fabric of relationships that exist in a free society but also warns of the dangers of government attempting to plan society.
This report, by media expert and former BBC producer David Graham, argues that the TV Licence Fee should be abolished, and that the BBC should instead become a subscription service. The report makes a number of points against the Licence Fee, but also makes a more positive case for reform, suggesting that shifting to a voluntary subscription model would encourage the BBC to compete with the big US studios, export more high quality content overseas, and spark significant growth in the UK broadcasting industry and its contribution to the wider economy.
In this think piece, Terry Arthur explains why the Left and the Right are both wrong about crime and punishment. As he puts it, "All three of the main parties remain incorrigibly statist, and at this rate, almost any action will soon be classed as either banned or compulsory."