Ben Southwood discusses corporation tax on Good Morning Scotland

Head of Research at the ASI, Ben Southwood, took part in an interview on Good Morning Scotland where he discussed the proposal to change the corporation tax system to a sales tax system.

If we want to get more tax from these companies then we should change the rules. In general moral suasion is a  bad way of doing a tax system. We benefit from this tax system in certain cases, and we lose out from it in other cases. Now if we'd like to change that, it will come with certain costs and certain benefits.

Listen to the full interview here. (starts 01:25:45)

Brownfield Land Won't Be Enough To Solve London's Housing Crisis | Sam Bowman writes for the Londonist

Sam Bowman, Executive Director at the ASI, wrote an article for the Londonist discussing the need to develop more than just brownfield sites, in order to meet the demand for housing in the UK.

At the margin, brownfield can be part of the mix but the idea that it can provide the land for all or even most of our needs is fairly muddled. Brownfield can be costly and sometimes less environmentally friendly to build on than greenfield. Brownfield sites often aren’t in the right places. And the brownfield that is suitable for development is already being developed.

Read the full article here.

We shouldn't just Buy British | Sam Bowman writes for the IBTimes

Executive director at the ASI, Sam Bowman, wrote for the IBTimes on the drawbacks of preferentially buying British good and services.

Public spending should not be a jobs programme, it should be about providing specific services. Buying British, of course, really means 'buying British when a cheaper and/or better foreign alternative exists'. So given limited resources, buying British means either an inferior product or less money to spend elsewhere. That means that Buying British is a transfer from taxpayers and the users of public services to whichever manufacturers have the loudest lobbyists.

Read the full article here.

Let’s ignore Google’s tax bill and scrap corporation tax altogether | Ben Southwood writes for City AM

Head of Research at the ASI, Ben Southwood, discusses the £130 million in corporation tax that Google has agreed to pay, and what the potential benefits are of scrapping the tax altogether:

Investment – into tools, infrastructure, skills, and better organisation – is what makes us more productive. Higher productivity means more goods to go around and higher living standards. Most economists, across the ideological spectrum, agree that capital should ideally not be taxed at all; in fact the result most convincingly showing this is the “Atkinson-Stiglitz theorem”, after famously progressive Anthony Atkinson and Joseph Stiglitz. Corporation tax flies in the face of this, reducing returns and hence disincentivising investment.

Read the full article here.

Eamonn Butler's letter regarding Oyster Card rewards features in the Evening Standard

Dr Eamonn Butler, Director of the ASI, has had his letter regarding Oyster Card rewards for the theatre featured in the Evening Standard

Sadiq Khan's planned Oyster Card rewards for theatre tickets sounds both wooly and unfair. The money to subsidise these tickets has to come from somewhere. Why should, for example, brick layers in Barking pay higher Tube and bus fares to subsidise people going to the theatre?

Davos: Oxfam is ignoring the fact that the world's poor are getting richer |Ben Southwood writes for the IB Times

Head of Research at the ASI, Ben Southwood, has written for the IB Times on why Oxfam's inequality report was so misleading, and why the real story should be how the worlds poorest are actually wealthier now, with higher living standards.

While we might lament that solving developing world poverty seems such a slow and difficult task, we shouldn't omit the fact that we're going in the right direction. Oxfam's data is misleading, beset with statistical niggles, and comes with the wrong conclusion. Let's hope the bigwigs at Davos don't take it too seriously.

Read the full article here.