Britain's local government authorities raise only a quarter of their budget from local sources. Which means that they are in thrall to national politicians and bureaucrats. Turn-out in local elections is falling because people no longer think they matter. The solution? Make local councils raise all their money locally. Not with an extra tax, but by turning VAT into a genuinely local sales tax. Since VAT raises almost exactly the amount that counties and districts spend, the sums balance neatly. And with competition between authorities to keep rates low, there will be greater focus on value for money.
Distinguished actuary and government advisor on pensions Alan Pickering believes he has found a way to overcome the savings crisis that could just have everyone agreeing. Better education, simplification, a wider role for employers- but the key measure is to massively increase the basic state pension, while raising the retirement age too.
Dr Eamonn Butler discusses the introduction of a flat tax rate. He mentions the increasing popularity of this form of tax and why the increase in tax revenue often confuses politicians.
Because the flat tax is paid on all income above that threshold, the rate can be very low. It ranges between 13% and 33%. The low rate encourages payment. There are no tax loopholes, nor the need for them, given the low rate. Instead of paying accountants to shelter income and move it offshore, people find it cheaper just to pay the tax. And a low rate makes it more worthwhile to earn more, which brings economic expansion.
A flat tax is simple, letting people understand their obligations. It is fairer, with low earners paying nothing and the rich paying their due. And it unleashes all the talent and enterprise being held back by a devious and complex system.
Dr Eamonn Butler argues the case for people to be able to secure property rights. Through property ownership, people will have the potential to borrow and thus, obtain capital to start a business and create employment opportunities. This, on its own, will create prosperity in the country.
Sale of the government's racehorse betting monopoly - the TOTE - cheap to a panel of racing interests would be a lucky windfall to wealthy owners but daylight robbery for the taxpayers who are supposed to own it, says Keith Boyfield. This ASI report led to a European Commission decision to block the government's cosy deal with the racing industry.
Dr Eamonn Butler takes a closer look at how free trade came about. He also explains how various forms of protectionism have undermined the success of free trade over the years and that if free trade is going to be at the forefront of economic policy leaders are going to have to be tough.
Dr Eamonn Butler takes a closer look at the Kyoto agreement and what it means for the world. He questions whether the expensive agreement is a worthwhile way to solve the global warming problem and suggests that we could be doing plenty of other things to tackle the issue which are far cheaper.
Dr Eamonn Butler investigates the productivity report which argues the productivity in Britain is 20 % that of France of Germany. He points out what he feels the reason for this may be and looks to the poor education system and the increasing public sector as major issues.
Independent schools are too expensive for most people; they provide a
service that is bought by only seven per cent of the population. Yet
polls have shown repeatedly that most of us would like to send our
children to an independent school if only we could afford it.
One of the reasons for their high cost derives, paradoxically, from
their charitable status. If they were profit-making companies that
distributed their profits to shareholders, there would be incentives
for them to keep costs down and operate efficiently. They would try to
sustain dividends and share values by seeking savings.