UK Capital taxes are the world's most complex, putting us at a disadvantage against EC partners. On UK and US figures, the author shows that the revenue-maximizing level for CGT is only 15% and argues for a cut to below 10%.
Individuals should be able to opt out of the state welfare system into an individual, funded and privately managed 'Fortune Account' which will provide lifetime insurance and basic pension benefits. This will allow people to accumulate savings when young, fit and in work, in order to fund their needs in retirement or when unemployed, sick, or disabled.
Ordinary people pay more IHT than the rich. The UK rate is far above the EU average, hitting much smaller estates. The tax is a powerful disincentive on saving, kills family businesses, is costly to collect, and destroys far more than it yields. If it did not exist, no rational person would propose it.
Keith Boyfield argues "The Case for Lower Excise Duties on Alcohol & Tobacco."
In a report that speaks volumes in relation to minimum wage laws in the UK, the authors show that unemployment rises each time minimum wages are raised; selectively higher in the very groups the rises are supposed to benefit. It's findings cannot be ignored.
Excise Duty and Value Added Tax account for nearly 2/3 of the price of spirits, vodka, whiskey, and gin, sold in the UK. This excessive tax rate penalises domestic production, encourages consumption of nearly all imported goods, costs jobs in the domestic drinks industry, and encourages bootleg and smuggled alcohol consumption. The UK can solve this problem by cutting excise duties gradually over five years to reach equivalency with EU duties, harmonizing UK and EU duties and signaling the goal of tax neutrality between alcoholic drinks.
The public forest estate no longer serves a public purpose. It occupies 10% of the area of Great Britain and over 15% of the rural area of mainland Scotland. All of this is outside local control. Over the last eighty years the national forest policy has been a complete failure and the Forestry Commission is to blame. There has been no return on investment, no commercial value and worst has failed to deliver on any of its objectives. The authors claim that the public forest estate should be freed from government constraints and protection. The woodlands should be returned gratis to the residents of the communities of which they could then become part.
Miles Saltiel is an investment banker with experience of the privatizations of Eastern Europe. Allan Stewart MP is a former Minister of State at the Scottish Office.
The UK state pension should be remodeled on Chile's privatized system which replaced its state pension with compulsory personal savings accounts which have become actuarially sound and secure, and secure, and offer flexible retirement ages, higher rates of return and stimulates economic growth.
New Zealand has been rated the world's most free economy by The Economist due to reforms initiated by the Labour government. The old Crown departments have been split into their policy, regulatory, service-delivery and commercial functions. The government has also become the first to adopt the same kind of rigorous accounting standards that are demanded of commercial firms - every new policy must be subjected to long range and analysis of its costs and impact. Having seen New Zealand as the world's laboratory for public sector reform, there is much we could learn from the Kiwi effect.
Policy experts from both left and right agree that the welfare state cannot survive without a radical set of reforms. The new fortune Account would provide for retirement savings and lifetime insurance against unemployment and other risks. Positive incentives would reduce fraud, while the extra investment could produce an additional 3% rise in economic growth as experienced in Chile.