Hurrah for Sajid Javid and his planning reforms

Following the news that the government plans to relax planning restrictions to allow more homes to be built, Ben Southwood made these delighted comments:

“Hurrah for Sajid Javid, as he proposes to drop light restrictions in order to build more terraces and mansion blocks.
"Cities do not need to be like Hong Kong to give everyone decent living space at reasonable rents: places like Paris and Barcelona are far denser than Oxford, Manchester or London, without being dystopian. Inner London itself has shed people since we replaced its terraces with towers, and those that remain are widely sought after.
“Javid and the government must push ahead with these reforms and more, including building on a small fraction of the Green Belt, so Britain’s cities can look more like central Paris and less like suburban Moscow."

For further information or to arrange an interview please email flora@adamsmith.org.

Sam Bowman calls for the abolition of Stamp Duty in The Daily Telegraph

Sam Bowman writing for the Daily Telegraph has called for abolition of Stamp Duty, calling it the worst tax we have.

This week we learnt that George Osborne’s 2014 reforms of the tax created nearly as many problems as they solved, reducing both revenues and transactions. It might well be the worst tax we have, and it generates less than 2 per cent of total tax yields. Forget reforming stamp duty – we should be scrapping the damned thing altogether.
The more buyers and sellers there are in a market the better things are for all of these people. Lots of buyers and sellers means more output for everyone, and competition keeps prices down. Stamp duty land tax is often what gets in the way. It is what economists refer to as a 'transactions tax', meaning that it gums up the system and adds costs to buyers and sellers of properties, putting both off that exchange.
The case against stamp duty is simple and powerful. It locks people into properties they don't want to be in and imposes huge costs on one of the most important purchases people will ever make. It is rightly resented by all who have to deal with it, and the forgone revenues would likely be made up for by the increased economic activity that scrapping would generate. The new Chancellor has a lot to do, but eliminating stamp duty should be top of his agenda. 

Read the article in full here.

ASI support for Indian immigration covered in The Times and Guardian

Sam Bowman's comments supporting further Indian immigration to the UK were covered in The Times and the Guardian.

The Times reported (twice):

Sam Bowman, executive director of the Adam Smith Institute think tank, said: “A free trade deal with India that also made it easier for skilled Indian workers to come to Britain would be win/win for us, and be a real coup by making the UK the first major economy to strike a deal with India.
“More Indian immigration, especially more skilled immigration, would be great for Britain. India’s IT sector is booming, and making it easier for British firms to hire some of that talent would be a big boost to our own technology companies.”

The Guardian reported:

Sam Bowman, executive director of the Adam Smith Institute, agreed that May ought to be more flexible on migration. “India’s position that a trade deal with Britain must include looser migration controls on Indian migrants is good news for Britain. A free trade deal with India that also made it easier for skilled Indian workers to come to Britain would be win-win for us, and be a real coup by making the UK the first major economy to strike a deal with India,” he said.
Brexit supporters told voters with links to Commonwealth countries that leaving the EU would allow an immigration system that was fairer towards people from their countries. However, if May is to meet her promise of cutting net migration to the tens of thousands, she will need to reduce migration from across the world. Bowman argued that British people were relaxed about skilled workers and students arriving in Britain, and said the cap had become an “albatross hanging around the government’s neck”.

 

 

More Indian immigration would be great for Britain says Sam Bowman

Theresa May says she would consider relaxing Britain's visa restrictions for Indian citizens, but only if the return of those living here illegally is sped up. 

Sam Bowman, Executive Director of the Adam Smith Institute, said:

"India’s position that a trade deal with Britain must include looser migration controls on Indian migrants is good news for Britain. A free trade deal with India that also made it easier for skilled Indian workers to come to Britain would be win/win for us, and be a real coup by making the UK the first major economy to strike a deal with India.

"More Indian immigration, especially more skilled immigration, would be great for Britain – India’s IT sector is booming, and making it easier for British firms to hire some of that talent would be a big boost to our own technology companies. And more flexibility about temporary work visas is essential to liberalising trade in services, where workers sometimes have to locate abroad for months to deal with a foreign client.

"The only barrier to this win/win outcome is political: the government’s crude migration cap, which does not differentiate between students and highly skilled migrants, who the public itself is relaxed about, and unskilled migrants. India is just another example of this cap making trade deals hard to negotiate: China, too, may demand freer movement in exchange for freer trade.

"The migration cap has turned into an albatross hanging around the government’s neck, and if we are to make Brexit a success it needs to be significantly reformed or, better yet, scrapped altogether."

Sam Dumitriu defends Uber relentlessly after ruling

Following the disappointing Uber ruling Head of Projects at the Adam Smith Institute, Sam Dumitriu, appeared across all the major news networks and nationals defending the gig economy giant.

Appearing on Sky Sunrise the morning of the ruling to kick things off Sam went on to appear on Sky News, BBC Breakfast and LBC.

And across major commercial stations including Heart, Magic and Xfm.

Ben Southwood, Head of Research also gave an interview to LBC on the ruling, further cementing the ASI as a lead commentator on the story.

ASI reaction to Uber ruling: This is disappointing for drivers and consumers

Sam Dumitriu, Head of Projects at the Adam Smith Institute, said:

"This is a disappointing decision for both the 40,000 Uber drivers and the hundreds of thousands of Uber users across the UK.

"Nearly 80% of Uber drivers preferred being self-employed and being their own boss, saying in a recent poll that they wouldn’t trade that in for some of the benefits of worker status like holiday pay, pension contributions and the National Minimum Wage.

"Uber drivers typically earn well above the National Living Wage. Across the UK, the average driver earns £16 an hour, that's after Uber has taken their commission, but before you factor in extra costs like insurance, petrol and car payments. One you factor that in it comes to around £12 an hour, still well above the minimum wage. It's higher for drivers in London and it's higher for drivers who work at peak times like Saturday evening.

"Consumers will see prices rise and a less stable, predictable service. And this doesn't just hit Uber. It threatens other new business models like Deliveroo and Amazon Prime Now."

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Flora Laven-Morris, Head of Communications, at flora@adamsmith.org | 07584 778207.

 

Benefits to Brexit? Our Sinnovation paper according to Metro

When the Metro asked what good had come from Brexit the ASI's Sinnovation paper was the highlight of the list.

The Metro reported:

That’s right, apparently now we’re leaving the EU we can binge-drink without feeling crap the next day. According to the Adam Smith Institute, after Brexit the UK will be allowed to develop synthetic alcohols, which get people tipsy but without the awful headache and shame that inevitably follows the next morning. While there wasn’t anything specifically banning the development of drinks such as Alcosynth, the EU’s complex health and safety laws made it commercially unviable.


 

Heathrow runway long overdue good news says Sam Bowman

Following the news that Heathrow's third runway has been approved Sam Bowman, Executive Director of the ASI, asks why not approve Gatwick too? He commented:

"The approval of a third runway for Heathrow, seven years after it was first mooted by the then-government, is long overdue good news. It’s a big point in this government’s favour that it has finally gone ahead with the plans, and a sign that it might be willing to push ahead with other important projects that local NIMBYs don’t like.
"We shouldn't feel too sorry for local residents, no matter how vocal they are. Their house prices will have been lower to reflect the inconvenience of living in the flight path, compared to similar houses in quieter areas and, for anyone who has bought a house in the past four decades, also to reflect the probability of a third runway being built. So the trade-off for them is cheaper housing in exchange for a bit more ambient noise from aircraft. 
"There’s no real reason that Gatwick shouldn’t also be given approval for an extra runway too, though. Britain should be as open to air passenger traffic as possible, being one of the world’s premier tourist and business travel destinations. The more runways the better. It’s also important now that the government gets the Border Force’s house in order to be able to deal with the increase in passenger numbers that the third runway will deliver, which means modernising its equipment and processes along the lines detailed in a recent Adam Smith Institute report."

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Flora Laven-Morris, Head of Communications, at flora@adamsmith.org | 07584 778207.