The Fortune Account

In 'The Fortune Account', Dr Eamonn Butler and Dr Madsen Pirie argue that individuals should be able to opt out of the state welfare system into an individual, funded and privately managed 'Fortune Account' which will provide lifetime insurance and basic pension benefits. This will allow people to accumulate savings when young, fit and in work, in order to fund their needs in retirement or when unemployed, sick, or disabled.

Read the whole paper here.

Captive Capital

UK capital taxes are among the world's most complex, putting us at a disadvantage against EU partners. On UK and US figures, the author shows that the revenue-maximizing level for Capital Gains Tax is only 15% and argues for a cut to below 10%.

[gview file=""]

Readings in Liberalism

A collection of seminal texts from Locke, Smith, Bastiat, Burke, Mill, Hume, Hayek, Mises, and others on the fundamental tenets of liberal thought such as freedom, Competition, and tolerance.


[gview file=""]

Hunting of the Quango

Old Teaser

Britain's ace quango-hunter stalks his costly quarry once again. He reviews the history and growth of quangos and the departments with the worst record in harbouring them. Then he proposes sunset legislation by which quangos would face automatic extinction after a few years, and ne disclosure rules for the quangurus. Despite being written over 10 years ago it's still relevant to the debate on quangos today. Especially in light of the governments over reliance on them and the ceaseless expansion of both their numbers and their size.

Download PDF file  

Slug path

20-20 Vision

20–20 Vision sets out a clear and coherent set of goals, and constitutes a radical agenda for innovation and reform. Written in 1994 it puts forth one hundred indicative targets that are viable for Britain to achieve over the next 25 years. It covers a wide range of subjects that cover the fabric of British society. Examples of the targets are: nursery education for three and four year–olds; top rate of tax of 20% and a basic rate of 10%; trains will link cities at speeds in excess of 200mph; the "tagging" of persistent offenders; renovation of housing stock making them energy sufficient and noise insulated; zero pollution for city transport and industry; the whole population to be in Health Maintenance Organisations; the NHS more doctor–based and more local; more private provision replacing state benefits. This report draws on the work of more than 25 contributors. The emphasis throughout is on private funding, voluntary effort and free enterprise, rather than on public money.

[gview file=""]

The End of the Welfare State

This report argues that it is time for the welfare state to be transformed. The authors argue for a new structure which can gradually be built out of the existing one. They present ways in which this can be achieved despite the financial constraints which contributing individuals and Treasury officials will impose. As such, this report sets forward a clear and intellectually coherent alternative to the welfare state, together with the means which can be used to bring it about. It thus presents a bold challenge to the conventional welfare thinking which has so visibly and lamentably failed to achieve its objectives.

[gview file=""]

The Amnesia of Reform

A review of post-Communist privatization. The authors find that the purpose of economic reform and privatization had been forgotten nor deliberately ignored in post-Communist countries. Firms were privatized in an unreconstructed and shoddy state, shareholders have no power, monopolies are protected, conflicts between ministries continued. The authors demanded that UK policy change to ensure effective reforms, they outlines new ways to overcome the problems and make privatization popular and beneficial.

[gview file=""]

The Consultant's Report on the Church of England

In the 1980s, privatisation vastly changed the size and composition of the State. In the 1990s, the government is completing the privatisation agenda. It is breaking new ground as regards the management of the State itself. The concept of citizenship is replacing that of subjecthood as government attempts to make its remaining monopoly services more responsive to the consumer. The introduction of the Citizen's Charter underlines these attempts. John Major's commitment on becoming leader of the Conservative Party to 'constitutional evolution' has signalled that constitutional reform may be back on the agenda. Despite the triumph of the ideas of economic liberalism, there remain differences of view concerning the values which a capitalist society must hold. Ideologically, the divide is between those who make a virtue only of economic freedom and those who see economic freedom as part of a more general freedom.

The second group believe that morality itself should be privatise,d and all behavioural choices, economic or moral, should be left to the individual (provided, it is usually added, they do not harm others). It follows that the State should also play no role at all in religion, one of the key sources of moral values. This may upset those who, following Adam Smith, think capitalism demands a set of common moral values. Had Smith been alive today, he might have complained that religious organisations are often not forthright enough in urging moral standards upon the nation.

This report puts this debate into a practical context. It suggests a way of reconciling the two sides by taking account of the right of the individual to set his or her own moral standards, at the same time as giving religious groups and others the opportunity to spread their values more widely.

It examines whether, in a modern liberal society, one religious body should be given privileged status by the State and seeks to redefine religion's role within the framework of our unwritten constitution. It also presents a challenge to the Church of England and other religious and charitable organisations to take on functions which historically have belonged to them, but which have only relatively recently fallen within the competence of the secular State.


[gview file=""]

A Disorderly House: UK Excise Duties on Alcohol and Tobacco

In this paper, Barry Bracewell-Milnes argues that excise duty on alcohol and tobacco in the UK are high compared to international standards, and that whilst developing nations may experience public sector financing gains from applying excise duties to these goods, developed nations can only achieve gains from applying these duties to motoring. He advocates the reduction of these duties.  

[gview file=""]