If Eurogroup meetings fail, is a Greek default inevitable? - Sam Bowman leans YES in CityAM

Deputy Director of the Adam Smith Institute Sam Bowman took part in the CityAM debate, arguing that failed Eurogroup meetings would make a Greek default more likely:

No country has pulled back from a peacetime debt-to-GDP ratio as high as Greece’s 175 per cent without defaulting. Its options are to grow out of debt, default unilaterally, or restructure its debt in cooperation with the Eurogroup. With the last of these off the cards, it may push for growth. But the country is in a state of near-perpetual deflation, which means that, even if it did have growth, it would still not be enough to boost its nominal GDP growth to the 4.9 per cent the Eurogroup believes is needed to start paying down its debts. Big supply-side liberalisations seem unlikely under Syriza, and certainly not on the scale necessary to deliver the growth a deflationary Greece would need to change its borrowing trajectory. However, absent debt servicing costs, it is running a budget surplus. If it defaulted, it may not need to worry about borrowing for now. If debt restructuring is truly off the table, a unilateral default may look very tempting.

Read the full debate here.

Is Google's dominance actually dangerous? - Charlotte Bowyer argues NO in City AM

Head of Digital Policy at the Adam Smith Institute, Charlotte Bowyer, argues that Google's online prominence isn't something to worry about in the CityAM Forum Debate:

There’s no denying that Google’s empire is vast. But the question is whether the prioritisation of its own services within search is actually bad for consumers. Many rival facilities exist, yet despite heavy investment and the promotion of services like Yahoo’s Bing, EU consumers just aren’t that interested. This suggests that people simply find Google’s search function superior, or enjoy the efficiency of its integrated services. But the way in which we access information and entertainment is evolving. Personal Assistant services like Siri are designed to compete with traditional search, while consumers are increasingly turning “in-app” to services like Facebook, Instagram and even Snapchat for news and recommendations. Many once-popular services and tech companies fall out of favour with time. With so many alternatives out there, there’s no reason to assume that Google’s current dominance is anti-competitive, or even guaranteed to continue.

Read the full article here.

Kate Andrews argues against minimum alcohol pricing on BBC The Big Questions

Head of Communications at the Adam Smith Institute, Kate Andrews, appeared on BBC One’s The Big Questions to debate whether drinkers need to 'pay their way'. She argued that drinkers are already paying their way and that increasing the price of alcohol serves as a regressive tax that hurts the least well-off and contributes to the cost of living crisis. Watch the full episode here. (Segment on minimum alcohol pricing starts 22:50)

The ASI's reaction to UKIP's Manifesto features in City AM

The Adam Smith Institute's comments on Ukip's pledge to ban unskilled immigrants from the UK for five years were featured in City AM:

A key pledge made by Nigel Farage as Ukip launched its manifesto, designed to rouse voters at the General Election in May, has been slammed by one think-tank within hours.

Plans to crackdown on immigration by unskilled workers has been described as breaking with "evidence, common sense and moral decency" by the Adam Smith Institute.

Read the full article here.

Press Release: UKIP's crackdown on unskilled immigrants goes against all economic sense

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Head of Communications Kate Andrews: kate@adamsmith.org | 07584 778207 Commenting on UKIP's pledge to ban unskilled immigration to the UK for five years, Director of the Adam Smith Institute Dr Eamonn Butler said:

UKIP’s crackdown on unskilled immigrants breaks with evidence, common sense, and moral decency. Low-skilled immigration does not affect the number of jobs available to natives; in fact, immigrants demand goods and services, which means new jobs are created to supply those services and community needs.

Immigrants prop up the welfare state, paying more in taxes overall than they consume in services or benefits. The best evidence suggests that low-skilled immigration only has a small and temporary negative effect on native wages, and this effect does not compare to the wealth they generate for the UK.

UKIP’s pledge to ban unskilled immigration for five years goes against all economic sense. It is only supported by a dogma that is both intellectually and morally bankrupt.

Notes to editors:

For more information, read ASI briefing paper "The Ties that Bind: Analysing the relationship between social cohesion, diversity, and immigration", which finds no conclusive evidence that diversity within UK communities creates a negative impact on social cohesion.

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

ASI reaction to the Conservative Manifesto features in The Daily Telegraph

Director of the Adam Smith Institute Dr Eamonn Butler was quoted in The Daily Telegraph on the Conservatives' pledge to keep minimum wage earners out of tax:

"It’s been an absurd part of UK tax policy that people making the minimum wage have had their earnings taxed away. The Conservatives should be applauded for making a firm commitment to keep those on the minimum wage out of income tax, regardless of future rises to the minimum wage" said Adam Smith Institute director Eamonn Butler.

"However, to truly take the lowest-paid out of tax, the Tories would do well to reevaluate the National Insurance threshold."

Dr Butler and Kate Andrews, Head of Communications at the Adam Smith Institute, were also quoted in The Telegraph online on the minimum wage pledge and the childcare pledge:

The Adam Smith Institute’s Kate Andrews said the plan could inflate the cost of childcare. "The cost of childcare is unaffordable for many families, but it's government funds that are perpetuating the distorted and expensive childcare market. Providing more childcare benefits will only exacerbate the problem."

 

Adam Smith Institute director Eamonn Butler welcomed the change. “It’s been an absurd part of UK tax policy that people making the minimum wage have had their earnings taxed away," he said. "The Conservatives should be applauded for making a firm commitment to keep those on the minimum wage out of income tax, regardless of future rises to the minimum wage. However, to truly take the lowest-paid out of tax, the Tories would do well to reevaluate the National Insurance threshold."

Read the full article here.

 

 

ASI reaction to the Conservative Manifesto features on Conservative Home

The Adam Smith Institute's reaction to the Conservative Manifesto was featured on Conservative Home:

Dr Eamonn Butler, Director:

“It’s been an absurd part of UK tax policy that people making the minimum wage have had their earnings taxed away. The Conservatives should be applauded for making a firm commitment to keep those on the minimum wage out of income tax, regardless of future rises to the minimum wage. However, to truly take the lowest-paid out of tax, the Tories would do well to reevaluate the National Insurance threshold, which goes into the same revenue pot as income tax yet continues to sit far below the personal allowance threshold.”

Read the full article here.

Press Release: Conservative Manifesto a mixed bag for workers (minimum wage, housing and childcare)

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Head of Communications Kate Andrews: kate@adamsmith.org | 07584 778207 Commenting on the Conservatives' pledge to keep minimum wage earners out of income tax, Director of the Adam Smith Institute Dr Eamonn Butler said:

It’s been an absurd part of UK tax policy that people making the minimum wage have had their earnings taxed away. The Conservatives should be applauded for making a firm commitment to keep those on the minimum wage out of income tax, regardless of future rises to the minimum wage.

However, to truly take the lowest-paid out of tax, the Tories would do well to reevaluate the National Insurance threshold, which goes into the same revenue pot as income tax yet continues to sit far below the personal allowance threshold.

Commenting on the Conservatives' housing pledge, Dr Butler said:

The Tories are right to put the UK's housing crisis at the heart of their manifesto and to prioritise giving low-earners the opportunity to buy their own home. But a £1 billion fund for Brownfield regeneration won't come close to supplying Britain's needed, and missing, homes.

The only way to create long-term affordable housing is to liberalise the planning system and allow for millions of houses to be built where people actually want to live. Building on just 0.5% of the UK’s Green Belt , for example, would be enough to fulfil UK housing needs for the next decade (though building on 1% of England's Green Belt would fully fix Britain's housing market by bringing prices down as well creating supply).

Commenting on the Conservatives' childcare pledge, Head of Communications Kate Andrews said:

The cost of childcare is unaffordable for many families, but it's government funds that are perpetuating the distorted and expensive childcare market. Providing more childcare benefits will only exacerbate the problem.

Ofsted regulations around childcare are some of the harshest in Europe, and it’s those requirements, including stringent qualification requirements and low mandatory child-to-staff ratios, that have caused prices to skyrocket.

"The Tories' commitment to more childcare spending will probably just reenforce the vicious cycle of high costs; to truly tackle the price of childcare, the sector must be deregulated.

Notes to editors:

For more information, read ASI report "The Green Noose: An analysis of Green Belts and proposals for reform", which looks at the Green Belt’s impact on England’s housing shortage.

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

ASI comments on non-dom tax provisions feature in The Daily Telegraph

The Adam Smith Institute's comment on non-dom tax provisions was quoted in The Daily Telegraph:

However, experts have attacked the proposals, warning that scrapping the non-dom tax status could lead to an exodus of top talent from Britain and "put the UK's international reputation at risk".

The Adam Smith Institute has said the plans risked "cutting off the country's nose to spite its face", while Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors, said: "There is a serious risk that large numbers of the international financial community, who have headquartered themselves in London at least in part because of our tax regime, will now exit the country."

Read the full article here.

ASI briefing paper “Non-Sense: Examining the arguments and rhetoric around non-dom tax provisions“debunks the oft-quoted claims being made by politicians about non-doms and highlights the potential financial risks associated with Labour’s proposed changes to the rules.

The paper explains how Miliband’s proposed changes to the tax rules could cut government revenue, drive away investors and risk hurting middle-income migrant workers registered as non-domiciled in the UK.