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.
Read the full paper here.
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?
Read it here.
In Capital Punishment, published in 1998, Dr Barry Bracewell-Milnes argues that capital gains tax should only be levied on predictable and predetermined gains and the tax on unpredictable gains does more harm than good and thus should be abolished. The report outlines the problems with the tax and the case for abolishing it.