Sunday, Sunday

Proposals to allow Sunday opening of shops in England and Wales are again on the political agenda. Despite the failure of the Thatcher government's previous attempt to deregulate Sunday trading, the arguments in favour of change are as strong as ever.

This publication is an evaluation of the arguments for and against Sunday trading, looking at examples of it in action across the world, and applying it to the current UK climate.

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Streets Ahead

This report by Nick Elliott shows how people in parts of the UK, the US and many other countries have given up on failing local services and take over the management of their own streets - leading to better services, calmer and safer traffic, and falling crime.

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A Decade of Revolution - The Thatcher Years

The first ten years of Thatcher's rule saw remarkable change in the UK. Having won three successive general elections, area after area of seemingly intractable problems had been tackled and replaced with successes. This report collects news items from throughout that decade of revolution, charting the achievements of the period.

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Duty to Repeal

These modes of taxation, by stamp–duties and by duties upon registration, are of very modern invention. In the course of little more than a century, however, stamp–duties have, in Europe, become almost universal, and duties upon registration extremely common. There is no art which one government sooner learns of another, than that of draining money from the pockets of the people.

All taxes upon the transference of property of every kind, so far as they diminish the capital value of that property, tend to diminish the funds destined for the maintenance of productive labour. They are all more or less unthrifty taxes that increase the revenue of the sovereign, which seldom maintains any but unproductive labourers; at the expense of the capital of the people, which maintains none but productive.

So wrote Adam Smith over 300 years ago. Still the problem persists today, and even though Nicholas Gibb wrote this report into Stamp Duty two decades ago it is still pertinent today. Quite simply it is a call for the abolition of Stamp Duty.

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A Change of Government

The future of Britain's Civil Services has been at the forefront of recent political debate. The Efficiency Unit's report, 'Improving Management in Government: The Next Steps', has put forward an important series of changes to the way in which the central bureaucracy functions. The report represents the latest  in a series of initiatives since 1979 aimed at improving the efficiency of government. Such initiatives are so far estimated to have saved the British taxpayer a total of £1.3 billion, at its maximum only £325 million per year. This report argues that such savings, important as they are, pale into insignificance when compared to the £164.8 billion spent by government in 1986/87. There must be more fundamental change in the way that Britain is governed if public expenditure is to be more than tamed. The Efficiency Unit's report offers an exciting opportunity for such change. An Inter-Departmental review should be conducted of all responsibilities and services carried out by departments. Departments should be rationalized and made to reflect today's society rather than the dreams of the early 1970s. The range of advice to ministers should be broadened and the whole question of political appointees must be re-examined.  

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