Press Release: Fear and Lothian in Westminster - reaction to Queen's Speech

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Head of Communications Kate Andrews: | 07476 915072 ASI reaction to Queen's Speech:

Commenting on devolution, Director of the Adam Smith Institute Dr Eamonn Butler said:

Greater financial devolution to Scotland will create a healthier public debate there. Instead of 'How do we spend England's money?' attention will turn to 'How much will Scottish taxpayers be willing to stump up for our generous spending plans?' The SNP might then find themselves facing a real popular Opposition.

The devolution plans will hit major opposition from English MPs unless there is a credible 'English Votes for English Laws' initiative. It is well beyond time that the West Lothian Question was resolved.

Most other countries give cities far more say over local affairs, and that is reflected in the local pride you see when you visit them. There is a chicken and egg problem, because you have to attract able people into local government – which at present, they see as a waste of time since Whitehall calls the shots. And Conservative MPs will have to grit their teeth when Opposition mayors and councils raise taxes and do things they disapprove of. In the long run, though, it will produce much greater focus on value for money in the provision of local services.

Commenting on childcare subsidies, Head of Communications at the Adam Smith Institute Kate Andrews said:

Childcare costs continue to burden British families, but the government’s pledge to provide more childcare benefits will only exacerbate prices and further distort the market.

Stringent qualification requirements and low mandatory child-to-staff ratios cause prices to skyrocket, making UK childcare costs 27 per cent of average family incomes – the second highest in the OECD. Furthermore, low child-to-staff ratios keep profit margins tight for childcare providers and can prevent them from investing in high quality staff.

It’s high time for the government to break this costly bubble and adopt policies more similar to countries like Denmark and Sweden, which have embraced deregulation to keep costs down.

Commenting on a further crackdown on legal highs, Head of Digital Policy at the Adam Smith Institute Charlotte Bowyer said:

Just as incredibly destructive drugs like crystal meth and crack cocaine emerged from a clampdown on less risky drugs, so legal highs fill a void for the recreational drug user.

A 'blanket ban' on psychoactive substances may eliminate high street 'head shops', but will push trade underground and encourage a slew of new, even more dangerous alternatives.

The fact that everyday substances like caffeine, alcohol and tobacco would be covered by such a ban (and have to be exempted) just shows how all-encompassing and heavy-handed such an approach is. To reduce harm from drug use the government should instead legalise recreational drugs like cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine so they are available with rigorous safety controls.

Notes to Editors:

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Kate Andrews, Head of Communications, at | 07476 915072.

The Adam Smith Institute is a free market, libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.