Silk Cut

Peter Reeve, himself an experienced lawyer, says that the whole process for selecting and appointing the UK's top barristers -- Queen's Counsel -- is both antiquated and against the public interest. The legal profession is one of the country's poshest but most effective trade unions, and its top echelons have proved skilled and successful at protecting their restrictive practices through the assaults of various governments. But their monopoly restricts the numbers of those with access to this spurious qualification, and in effect sets up a pricing ring that raises the costs of the court system and prices many people out of access to justice.

 

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No Limit

"In an ideal economy, government would decide if it wished to encourage saving, the extent to which it wished to do so, and the measures most likely to bring positive results." No Limit explores our attitude to saving, arguing that "tax concessions which encourage saving have not been planned as part of a systematic and rational approach."

 

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Simply No Mistake

'Simply No Mistake' outlines "the biggest pensions boost for women and carers since the creation of the welfare state" in which every pound put into a stakeholder pension would be topped up with another pound contributed by the chancellor, up to £20,000 each year. The report suggests that rules on pensions should be streamlined, scrapping limits on contributions and allowing people to save into company and personal plans at the same time.

 

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Simply Secure

The report examines the design and regulation for the new wave of social-security partnerships. Reform of the pensions and social-insurance system is now a priority among politicians of all parties. Despite — or perhaps because of — the efforts of the last government to contain its costs, people are worried about the future security of the system, and press for change.

 

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Competition or Regulation?

Simon Read's report anticipated much of what Ron Sandler came up with in his official government review of long term savings. Read proposes that products rather than the advice process, should be regulated - as they are in every other market. He argues for a simplified and standard tax structure covering all sorts of savings and investments, and simpler products that will allow charging structures to be simplified and charges reduced.

 

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Hayek: A Commemorative Album

This book uses original photographs and contemporary documents to illustrate the life and work of a man whom The Economist called 'the century's greatest champion of economic liberalism'. The illustrations, including many previous unpublished photographs, draw heavily on family archives that were generously and patiently loaned by Dr Laurence and Mrs Esca Hayek, and by Miss Christine Hayek.

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Trouble with the Authorities

This report assesses the powers and duties of Passenger Transit Authorities, to see how far they are needed; how much they cost to maintain; and whether such of their functions as may be justified could be better provided by the existing, directly elected local authorities. It finds that the case for their abolition is strong.