How to celebrate Tax Freedom Day much earlier in the year
May 2014 29

It might not have felt like the most momentous morning yesterday underneath a particularly grim grey sky: according to the Adam Smith Institute, for the first time this year you were working for yourself not the Government. It took until May 28th, but the average worker has now paid off their share of the tax burden for the year. Somewhat terrifyingly, this represents progress; last year it was May 30th. The fruits of your labour were two days sooner in coming than last year. Continue Reading

Is less government better government?
May 2014 28

Last night I debated ‘Is a Smaller State a Better State‘ at the Bristol Festival of Ideas, with Labour peer Maurice Glasman and the Observer’s chief leader writer Yvonne Roberts, chaired by the Observer’s assistant editor Julian Coman. The debate was interesting with three distinct views, but there were also striking areas of agreement across some of the topics discussed. Continue Reading

Happy Tax Freedom Day!
May 2014 28

Every year, the Adam Smith Institute calculates Tax Freedom Day – the first day in the year when you finally begin to earn for yourself.

And today, May 28th, is that day. That means that you have worked 148 days of this year solely to pay your taxes.

We think that’s far too long. We want to see tax cuts so that people get to keep more of the money that they earned, to spend on their own families. It doesn’t make sesnse for politicians to take a huge chunk of cash from people’s pay cheques, then dish some of it out in grants and benefits.

Taxes are too high, too complicated and they need to be drastically reformed. Our 2020 Tax Commission – run jointly with the Institute of Directors – mapped out a plan for a simpler and less burdensome tax system. One that would mean you wouldn’t be working for 40 per cent of the year just for the tax man.

So Happy Tax Freedom Day. We hope it falls much earlier in the years to come.

Supporters’ Action Day in Swansea
May 2014 27

Supporters of the TPA were out in Swansea last weekend, collecting signatures against the Council’s move to increase Council Tax by 5 per cent. Swansea is Wales second largest city, with a growing student population and an evermore urban feel. On Saturday supporters met with local shoppers, all of whom were concerned about the severe Council Tax increases. Many of them questioned why the increase is so high, particularly as taxpayers across the Bristol channel in Devon are having their Council Tax frozen. Continue Reading

Comment: New Zealand Centre for Political Research
May 2014 27

Our Policy Analyst Alex Wild has written for the New Zealand Centre for Political Research, outlining the need for welfare reform here in the UK. Read the piece in full here.

Overall we will spend £184.3 billion (NZ$358.7 billion) on social security benefits and a further £28.9 billion (NZ$456.2) billion on tax credits this year.

Saving by the less well-off has been discouraged by poorly-designed means-testing, diminishing personal responsibility and fostering dependency.

These mistakes mean we have much more unemployment than we used to. Despite the remarkable recent performance of the UK jobs market, unemployment at 6.8 per cent is far higher than it was in the 1950s and 1960s when the value of unemployment benefits fluctuated significantly.

Historically, a year or so after benefit levels increased faster than earnings and inflation, unemployment has also increased. The big boosts to the value of benefits in the 1970s and 1980s helped entrench the relatively high unemployment we have today.

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