The Big Turn Off

'The Big Turn Off' analyses the attitudes of young people to government, citizenship and community. It shows that only a small proportion of young people share the government view that citizenship means volunteering to do things, challenging the law if they think it wrong, or being active in the community. They have little time for government, be it local, national or European, thinking it largely irrelevant to their lives.


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Simpler Taxes: A guide to the simplification of the British tax system

Simpler Taxes is an indictment of the nation's tax system, which imposes huge costs upon the economy. If taxes were simplified, people would realize the huge gap between what they are paying and the services they receive in return. Exploring how globalization and the Internet are making it ever more difficult to levy traditional taxation, Braestrup concludes that governments must, in effect, compete for the loyalty of their citizens with attractive tax regimes. His proposal for Britain is that complex and obscure taxes should be replaced by visible ones which are easy to understand, and whose rates are lower.

Read this report.

Privatizing Access to Justice

Up to now, access to justice has been the privilege of the wealthy and the minority who are sufficiently poor to qualify for civil legal aid. Most other people had no access to civil justice, a factor which has brought the civil justice system into disrepute. The government is presently undertaking a major and long-overdue reform of the civil legal aid system in accordance with the Access to Justice Act 1999. Reforms enacted on 1 April 2000 abolish legal aid for most civil claims. Instead, it is expected that cases will be funded by the conditional fee system - popularly known as "no win, no fee". In this system the lawyer agrees with his client to charge an additional success fee if the claim is successful, but may charge nothing if the claim fails. It is an example of payment by result. These reforms effectively represent the privatisation of access to justice. The civil courts are increasingly accessible to anyone with a meritorious claim.


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The Road from Inequity

Town traffic causes by far the bulk of the congestion, pollution, accidents, and noise nuisance of driving - all of which cost society seven times what urban motorists pay in taxes. Rural drivers, by contrast, are overcharged three times for their use of the roads. For heavy vehicles in urban areas during peak-hours this discrepancy is even higher, claims the report, which proposes a £15 billion cut in the revenue collected in fuel duty, vehicle taxes and VAT. People driving in towns, however, would pay tolls averaging 5.6p per mile, with charges much higher at peak times and for high-polluting heavy vehicles.

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Response to the CAA

The Adam Smith Institute has told the Civil Aviation Authority that UK airports are over-regulated and under-competitive. This report by former airport director David Stanley says that the CAA should focus on safety regulation, that UK airports should be opened up to more competition, and that the economic regulation of airports should be passed to a new, independent regulator.


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Patient Centred Medical Regulation

5 per cent of doctors are estimated to be making the wrong decisions - that amounts to 5,000 doctors with 100,000 patients. There is a need for improved regulation of the medical profession with the emphasis centred on the patient. Currently the public is untrusting of the medical profession, This briefing paper sets out guidelines for a new shape to regulation.


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Housing Benefit: What the government ought to do – but won't

Radical changes to housing benefit are required in order to stem the £840 million of tax payers money lost annually to fraud and error, and to make the housing market fairer and more responsive to the needs of tenants. Housing benefit should be taken out of the hands of local authorities, and instead paid out by social security offices along with income support. Today's very complicated payment rates, which depend on the tenant's rent level, family circumstances, and the type of property occupied, would be replaced by a uniform benefit for all low paid people. The report's author, Dr Peter King of De Montfort University in Leicester, says that perhaps £350 million in administrative costs and payment errors could be saved by these simplifications alone.


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Facing the Future

In 50 years time Britain will still be independent, still a monarchy, and still close to America, but will no longer be influential, and may no longer make waves in science, technology, art or culture. These are among the findings of the new survey conducted by MORI for the Adam Smith Institute. It presents a detailed picture of how the British public see the unfolding century. The report covers issues such as progress, living standards and the welfare state. The young are noticeably different from their elders. They are more optimistic.

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Don't stop the bus

The humble bus is still responsible for more passenger journeys than any other form of public transport, but years of state control and neglect led to people abandoning it by the carriage load. 'Don't Stop the Bus' proposes measures to reinvigorate the bus system by devolving control.


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Who owns the past?

We should privatize the past. We should take control of the nation's cultural treasures out of the hands of bureaucratic 'professionals' and give it to enthusiastic independents. That is the view of Andrew Selkirk in his Adam Smith Institute book, 'Who Owns the Past?'

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