Freedom an' Whiskey Gang Thegither

Excise duties on alcohol should be lowered and those on spirits should be cut most of all, says St Andrews economist Dr Paul Haines. The report examines and challenges Treasury assumptions concerning the way in which consumption of alcohol reacts to price changes. Alcohol consumption doesn't rise indefinitely with increases in prosperity, and attempts to curb alcohol consumption by increases in excise duties will probably fail. Not only that but further increases only lead to an increase in smuggling. The recent rises relate to losses in the Treasury revenue whereas a freeze or reduction to more revenue. Dr Haines proposes a duty of £10 per litre of pure alcohol, an abolishment of the duty and VAT on Commonwealth importation of alcohol. We should have lower duties and equal duties.

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Don't stop the Bus

Old Teaser

Bus services would be more efficient if local transport officials, who seem bent on reversing the deregulation of the last decade, just got out of the way and let private bus companies manage things more freely, an international expert on transport argues. A government so committed to competition should reject highly regulated European-style 'franchise' systems that prevail in London, the report maintains.

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Slug path

Charging ahead: making road user charging work in the UK

This detailed report from the Institute's Trafficflow project team explores the equipment and policy requirements to make congestion charging work in major cities. How much does congestion cost? Why must a charging scheme be electronic rather than paper based? How can the technology be made affordable? How much importance should be given to simplicity, flexibility, public opinion, privacy and bolt on services that make life better for road users?


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In Defence of the Dome

This paper examines some of the criticisms of the construction of the Millennium Dome using public funds, and provides an alternative perspective by arguing for the benefits and necessities of such a project.

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Silk Cut

Peter Reeve, himself an experienced lawyer, says that the whole process for selecting and appointing the UK's top barristers -- Queen's Counsel -- is both antiquated and against the public interest. The legal profession is one of the country's poshest but most effective trade unions, and its top echelons have proved skilled and successful at protecting their restrictive practices through the assaults of various governments. But their monopoly restricts the numbers of those with access to this spurious qualification, and in effect sets up a pricing ring that raises the costs of the court system and prices many people out of access to justice.


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No Limit

"In an ideal economy, government would decide if it wished to encourage saving, the extent to which it wished to do so, and the measures most likely to bring positive results." No Limit explores our attitude to saving, arguing that "tax concessions which encourage saving have not been planned as part of a systematic and rational approach."


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Simply No Mistake

'Simply No Mistake' outlines "the biggest pensions boost for women and carers since the creation of the welfare state" in which every pound put into a stakeholder pension would be topped up with another pound contributed by the chancellor, up to £20,000 each year. The report suggests that rules on pensions should be streamlined, scrapping limits on contributions and allowing people to save into company and personal plans at the same time.


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