20–20 Vision sets out a clear and coherent set of goals, and constitutes a radical agenda for innovation and reform. Written in 1994 it puts forth one hundred indicative targets that are viable for Britain to achieve over the next 25 years. It covers a wide range of subjects that cover the fabric of British society. Examples of the targets are: nursery education for three and four year–olds; top rate of tax of 20% and a basic rate of 10%; trains will link cities at speeds in excess of 200mph; the "tagging" of persistent offenders; renovation of housing stock making them energy sufficient and noise insulated; zero pollution for city transport and industry; the whole population to be in Health Maintenance Organizations; the NHS more doctor–based and more local; more private provision replacing state benefits. This report draws on the work of more than 25 contributors. The emphasis throughout is on private funding, voluntary effort and free enterprise, rather than on public money.
In this think piece Ruth Lea, Economic Advisor to the Arbuthnot Banking Group and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute, discusses what 2011 holds for the British and global economies. There is some room for optimism, she says, but overall the near future isn't bright.
This short book is an accessible introduction to liberty – one of the key concepts of political and economic thought. It explains why liberty is so important and sets out in clear language the benefits of freeing individuals from big government. The guide consists of ten concise chapters, each focusing on a particular aspect of liberty and written by an expert in the field. The authors show why liberty is essential if people are to lead prosperous and fulfilling lives, and also point to the terrible consequences when politicians and officials get too much power. At a time when our freedom is threatened by a rising tide of government controls, A Beginner’s Guide to Liberty is essential reading.
The Vickers Commission got it wrong, says Miles Saltiel. By focusing on linkages between retail and investment banks, it missed the real causes of the 2008 financial crisis and an opportunity to fix the problems in the financial sector. Rather than giving increased competition the lowest priority, as the Commission has, increasing competition in the banking sector should be the main goal in the government's banking policy.
While Labour and Conservative parties talk about the value of parental choice in education, other countries are actively encouraging it. "All state schools could become independant." say's the reports author, former Fabian society research chief Stephen Pollard. Examples are given where the public funding private provision model is successsfully being used. In America the charter schools, which have been set up by local parents recieve tax funding, are non selective and are exempt from much of the regulation on state schools. New Zealand has copied the charter school model replacing the old district bureaucracies with new boards of trustees for each school and abolished zoning. 82% of New Zealanders now claim to be satisfied with their children's education. 97% of low income families are satisfied. Equality and educational standards would both rise if the government stopped running schools and paid others to do it instead.
In a new ASI paper, distinguished energy expert Prof Ian Fells says the government's energy policy is 'timid, complacent, and reckless'.
The government is considering the introduction of a general anti-avoidance rule (GAAR). In this article, writer and retired actuary Terry Arthur considers the case for this measure. He argues that the GAAR would hurt living standards and its advocates fundamentally misunderstand the nature of taxation.Read more...
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.
This paper examines the place of excise duties on alcohol within the British fiscal system. It argues that United Kingdom taxes are by international standards heavy on beer, even heavier on wine and very heavy on spirits. These duties on alcohol are the result of historical accident and political pressures and have little or no economic rationale.
This article examines the case for a flat-rate income tax system in the UK. Although it notes that the flat tax is 'attractive in principle and proven in practice', the piece also outlines the many obstacles to achieving such a reform, concluding that the implementation of a flat tax in the UK will be far from straightforward.