The Government should cut taxes but Boris should ‘stop pussyfooting around’ on regulation, too

August 16, 2012 5:31 PM

Boris Johnson has told the London Evening Standard that Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne should 'stop pussyfooting around' on the economy and take bolder action to restore growth.
The Government needs to stop pussyfooting around. The way to get business really motoring in the UK is to cut taxes, cut regulation, create the infrastructure and get behind it. That’s what you should do. There’s a real opportunity to capitalise on the Olympics. [To] look at London as the motor that can drive growth.

With the robustly enjoyable turn of phrase for which he has become renowned, the Mayor of London has correctly identified the major obstacles standing between the economy and growth: inadequate infrastructure, onerous regulation and burdensome taxes.

The case for tax reform for lower and simpler rates has been conclusively made in our 2020 Tax Commission’s final report, the Single Income Tax which sets out in detail what the UK tax system should look like. Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph’s Britain Unleashed series features a wealth of practical deregulation ideas to unleash British enterprise.

However, while the Mayor is right to identify inadequate infrastructure as a major obstacle to the jobs, prosperity and growth that we need, he is wrong to imply that increased expenditure by the Government is either necessary or welcome:
This is the time to be ambitious about London and what it can do for Britain. One of the ways of doing that would be to commit to further infrastructure — Crossrail 2, more river crossings, a massive house building programme for the city.

The capital has a desperate shortage of both aviation capacity and housing but the solution is not a government-led ‘house building programme’. The private sector can and should build both the big new airport and the big increase in housing that the Mayor rightly says we need. Boris pledged a new airport "financed, built and run by the private sector" in his election manifesto. This formula is right and would be best for housing, too.

The reality is that government meddling in the housing market is to blame for the desperate shortage of housing stock and the consequent sky-high prices in London and the South East. For all the good intentions of housing regulation all it usually ends up doing is to make problems in the market even worse.

In a series of sops to environmental, nanny-state and other lobbies, the Mayor has imposed a swathe of additional, destructive and self-defeating regulations on home owners and developers. Planning policies such as affordable housing requirements, minimum room sizes and the Mayor’s ban on development in large gardens are the regulations which, together with the especially punitive tax environment for property development, have led to smaller and smaller home sizes and higher and higher prices for Londoners.

Boris Johnson and his housing and planning bureaucrats shouldn’t be trying to play 'the Sims' with our homes and land use any more than George Osborne and David Cameron should. The Mayor of London is right to tell the Government to get its act together on taxes and regulation and he has set a great example by cutting his share of Council Tax. He should now ‘stop pussyfooting around’ himself and set an example by ripping up his new housing market regulations so developers can get on with creating jobs and growth by building the homes the market actually demands, rather than those which bureaucrats and politicians think they ought to.Boris Johnson has told the London Evening Standard that Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne should 'stop pussyfooting around' on the economy and take bolder action to restore growth.
The Government needs to stop pussyfooting around. The way to get business really motoring in the UK is to cut taxes, cut regulation, create the infrastructure and get behind it. That’s what you should do. There’s a real opportunity to capitalise on the Olympics. [To] look at London as the motor that can drive growth.

With the robustly enjoyable turn of phrase for which he has become renowned, the Mayor of London has correctly identified the major obstacles standing between the economy and growth: inadequate infrastructure, onerous regulation and burdensome taxes.

The case for tax reform for lower and simpler rates has been conclusively made in our 2020 Tax Commission’s final report, the Single Income Tax which sets out in detail what the UK tax system should look like. Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph’s Britain Unleashed series features a wealth of practical deregulation ideas to unleash British enterprise.

However, while the Mayor is right to identify inadequate infrastructure as a major obstacle to the jobs, prosperity and growth that we need, he is wrong to imply that increased expenditure by the Government is either necessary or welcome:
This is the time to be ambitious about London and what it can do for Britain. One of the ways of doing that would be to commit to further infrastructure — Crossrail 2, more river crossings, a massive house building programme for the city.

The capital has a desperate shortage of both aviation capacity and housing but the solution is not a government-led ‘house building programme’. The private sector can and should build both the big new airport and the big increase in housing that the Mayor rightly says we need. Boris pledged a new airport "financed, built and run by the private sector" in his election manifesto. This formula is right and would be best for housing, too.

The reality is that government meddling in the housing market is to blame for the desperate shortage of housing stock and the consequent sky-high prices in London and the South East. For all the good intentions of housing regulation all it usually ends up doing is to make problems in the market even worse.

In a series of sops to environmental, nanny-state and other lobbies, the Mayor has imposed a swathe of additional, destructive and self-defeating regulations on home owners and developers. Planning policies such as affordable housing requirements, minimum room sizes and the Mayor’s ban on development in large gardens are the regulations which, together with the especially punitive tax environment for property development, have led to smaller and smaller home sizes and higher and higher prices for Londoners.

Boris Johnson and his housing and planning bureaucrats shouldn’t be trying to play 'the Sims' with our homes and land use any more than George Osborne and David Cameron should. The Mayor of London is right to tell the Government to get its act together on taxes and regulation and he has set a great example by cutting his share of Council Tax. He should now ‘stop pussyfooting around’ himself and set an example by ripping up his new housing market regulations so developers can get on with creating jobs and growth by building the homes the market actually demands, rather than those which bureaucrats and politicians think they ought to.

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