General Election 2017 Coverage

Agriculture

Phase out agricultural subsidies – a better deal for everyone Leaving the EU means leaving the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which provides an unprecedented opportunity for far-reaching reforms of Britain’s farming subsidies. Protectionist regulations aimed at keeping the price of food artificially high are not just harming consumers; by hampering... Read more...

Transport

Nobody truly knows how much HS2 will cost. The official figure stands at £55.7 billion, but according to the National Audit Office (NAO) this “does not cover funding for all the activity needed to deliver the promised growth and regeneration benefits which is the responsibility of local authorities”. The public... Read more...

Debt and Deficit

Contrary to the previous two general elections, debate about the pace and composition of deficit reduction has been non-existent in the early stages of the 2017 election campaign. In 2015, the Labour Party’s position was to “balance the books by cutting the deficit every year, with a surplus on the... Read more...

Tax Burden

Despite some efforts to cut individual taxes, the tax burden is on the rise. Last year the tax burden was higher than it was in any year under the last labour government and is projected to hit levels unseen for half a century by 2021-22. The Conservatives have been in... Read more...

NHS

There can be little doubt that the NHS is struggling with rising demand. The system was never designed to cope with an ageing population and the associated long-term conditions. Treating the 30 per cent of the population with at least one long-term condition already takes up 70 per cent of... Read more...

Housing

Housing Our housing market is broken. But landlords and developers are not the ones to blame – they are simply following the rules and incentives created by our dysfunctional planning system. Politicians from all parties are vowing to improve living standards for lower income households, but unless this issue is... Read more...

Quangos

A Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisation, or quango, is an organisation that is funded by taxpayers, but is not controlled or overseen directly by an elected official. Before the 2010 election, the TPA issued a manifesto that highlighted the presence of 1,148 quangos spending £90 billion a year. Whilst the coalition government... Read more...

International Aid

International Aid Both Labour and the Conservatives have committed to continuing the current target of spending 0.7 per cent of national income on Overseas Development Assistance (ODA). This is an arbitrary figure that the UN has recommended since 1970. The UK first hit the target in 2013 and is one... Read more...

Welfare

Despite much publicity being given to welfare “cuts” made since 2010, UK welfare spending makes up a greater proportion of public spending today than it did in 2009-10 (27.8 per cent vs 26.9 per cent). During this period the proportion of welfare spending received by pensioners has increased from 51.7... Read more...

Public Sector Pay

Since 2010, the government has been largely successful in its attempts to restrain public sector pay. A considerable gap between public and private sector weekly earnings opened up during the 2000s which has largely been closed by limiting pay increases. The problem of national pay bargaining in the public sector persists, however.... Read more...

Fiscal Devolution

The UK has one of the most centralised tax systems in the world, with only 28 per cent of revenue expenditure by local authorities funded by council tax. The remainder comes from central government grants and the business rates retention scheme.  By 2020 all revenue from business rates will be... Read more...

5 Moral Reasons for Low Tax

While the economic case for lower taxes is well known, the moral case is rarely made. Here are five moral aguments from Eamonn Butler, Director of the Adam Smith Institute from the 2020 Tax Commission. 1. Spending crowds out private contributions People who pay high taxes are less likely to... Read more...

5 Examples of Government Waste

1. Thanet Council’s ‘dirty war’ COST: £20,000 in the first year One Kent local authority’s war on dog poo has taken a sinister – and expensive – turn for the bizarre. Thanet council is set to use high-tech DNA testing technology to track down owners who fail to pick up... Read more...