Ben Southwood's comments on housing benefit feature in the Independent

The Independent on Sunday have quoted the ASI's Head of Research, Ben Southwood, on what he hopes Wednesday's Budget may bring.

Ben Southwood, at free market think-tank the Adam Smith Institute thinks its time for a drastic change in policy: "Housing benefit should be phased out and eventually scrapped. In a property market where supply is tightly constrained, increases in the benefit supply mainly go into higher rents. The empirical evidence suggests that about 70p of every £1 of the £26bn system goes into the pockets of the landlords in the form of higher rents."

He adds: "What's more, the system encourages people with less means to move to the most expensive areas, since the level of payment is tied to prevailing rents, which means that the bill is artificially inflated. The Government should use the money to supplement low incomes, by raising the employee NIC threshold and making Universal credit withdrawl rate less steep so work pays more for recipients."


Sam Bowman's comments on sterlingisation feature on STV News

Executive Director of the ASI, Sam Bowman, has had his comments on sterlingisation feature on STV News:

Mervyn King is quite right that some form of sterlingisation would have been an independent Scotland’s best bet, had it voted for independence. Though what he describes is a formal currency union, where the Bank of England operates with Scottish macroeconomic stability as one of its goals, I proposed that Scotland go it alone with an informal currency union.

Read the full article here.

Why do doctors think they are above criticism? | Sam Bowman writes for the IBTimes

Executive Director of the ASI, Sam Bowman, wrote for the IBTimes on the junior doctors strikes. He argues the dispute is all about salaries, and that doctors are in the wrong here.

If the issue is pay, why should the other side of the dispute – taxpayers – be expected to pay more? The main justification for paying doctors more would be charity – they deserve more than they're getting, or it's unfair to cut some doctors' pay.

But the NHS isn't a charity that operates for the benefit of its staff, and it has limited resources. More money for doctors means less money that can be spent on NHS patients, or indeed on other NHS workers.

Read the full article here.

ASI 2016 Budget predictions feature in City AM

The ASI's wish list for the 2016 Budget has featured in City AM, focusing particularly on our calls to scrap stamp duty on shares, and replace business rates with a land value tax.

The verdict is unequivocal: scrap [stamp duty on shares]. The Adam Smith Institute (ASI) says this is one of the most harmful taxes and raises relatively little.

The ASI wants business rates to be stopped from taxing capital. Its reasoning is as follows: business rates tax property values, so they effectively tax both the land a property is built on, and what sits on top of the land (bricks, mortar, machinery).

Read the full article here.

Sam Bowman defends CEO pay on BBC 5 Live

Executive Director of the ASI, Sam Bowman, was on BBC 5 Live discussing CEO pay and why they are worth their wages:

One way of checking if salaries are over the top is looking at firm value when they take on a new CEO thats perceived to be good, and if the new CEO comes on and they're paid £5m a year, but the firm value goes up by £50m, then I think thats a sign that the firm has done a really good job, and the new CEO is actually being paid less than they're worth.

Listen to the full interview here (Starts 01:52:35)


Sam Bowman discusses junior doctors contracts on Sunday Politics

Executive Director of the Adam Smith Institute, Sam Bowman, was on the BBC's Sunday Politics discussing the junior doctor contract dispute. He argues that the sticking point ultimately is not to do with patient safety, and is largely just about doctors pay:

If we're talking about how to get the best value for money for people who use the NHS, patients, and taxpayers, then I think the key is to restrict the amount of money we're paying doctors to make sure it doesn't go up any further, because they will go on to earn much more than almost anybody can hope to afford.

Watch the full interview here. (Starts 51:00)

ASI report 'A Garden of One's Own' features in The Times

The ASI's latest report on the Green Belt has featured in The Times. 'A Garden of One's own', by Tom Papworth, advocates building on Green Belt land, potentially on golf courses, in order to alleviate the housing crisis in the UK.

A report by the Adam Smith Institute recommended that more golf courses on protected green land should be sold off. Tom Papworth, the author, said: “We have to choose whether to protect valuable inner-city green space or sacrifice our parks for the sake of low-grade farmland, golf courses and already-developed sites that happen to have once been classified as greenbelt.”

Read the full article here.

Is Facebook’s decision to pay more tax in the UK a victory for the government? | Tim Worstall argues NO in City AM

Senior fellow of the ASI, Tim Worstall, wrote a debate piece for City AM on whether or not Facebook's tax decision is a victory for the government’s diverted profits tax policy.

Facebook overhauls its tax structure but, no, this does not mean that George Osborne’s Google Tax has worked. Facebook is starting to sell to large UK advertising accounts using UK-based and paid salespeople. This constitutes a “permanent establishment” under the usual international tax laws and the profits from this activity will be taxable in 2017, when Facebook starts doing this.

Read the full article here.