'No deal' with EU on trade post Brexit does not mean disaster for the UK

Summary:  The primary objective of trade policy should be to promote the interests of UK consumers, not producers. The UK’s best post- Brexit trade policy should therefore be to trade as freely as possible with the rest of the world. Free Trade would bring considerable benefits to the UK. These benefits include lower consumer prices, ... Continue reading

UK will pay almost £25 billion in 'sin taxes' next year

Summary:  This discussion paper provides the first estimate of the net effect of smoking on UK taxpayers per annum. Up until now, estimates have used a methodology that typically includes intangible costs, including costs to smokers themselves, while ignoring tangible savings to the state and tax revenues from tobacco duty. We estimate a net saving ... Continue reading

Taylor review fails to factor in costs to employees of proposed interventions

Summary:  The Taylor Review should be commended for recognising the success of the UK’s flexible labour market and for refusing to endorse the outright bans on zero-hours contracts and app-based “gig” economy advocated by the Labour Party, trade unions and other pressure groups. However, its recommendations for further regulation of these types of work seem ... Continue reading

Why the health system needs old-age reserve funds

Summary: Healthcare spending as a proportion of GDP has almost doubled since 1990, from just over 5 per cent to almost 10 per cent now. With differences in timing and magnitude, virtually all developed countries have experienced a similar long-term trend Healthcare costs rise exponentially in old age. Healthcare costs per capita are relatively stable ... Continue reading

IEA Brexit Unit makes the case that UK divorce bill should not exceed £26 billion

Key Points The UK is leaving the EU and needs to close its accounts. In a divorce, the two sides divide up the assets and liabilities. But the situation here is more like leaving a club, so the question is when the obligation to pay membership fees should end. One option would be simply be ... Continue reading

Political consensus to increase employment regulation risks undermining the economy

Summary: Legal restrictions on the terms and conditions under which employment takes place have a long history in the UK. Since the mid 1960s, however, regulation has substantially increased and now permeates all aspects of work. The costs of this are huge. Just one element relates to the direct burden on firms. For example, the ... Continue reading

Capitalise on Brexit to free UK from damaging EU Common Fisheries Policy

Summary:  Global fish catches in the seas and oceans have stagnated since the mid 1990s. A decline in the quality of fish landed has been evident in several major regions and some fisheries have experienced collapses in stocks of valuable species such as cod. Because there are generally no established property rights in wild fish, fisheries ... Continue reading

Winning essay for the IEA Richard Koch Breakthrough Prize

Winner of £50,000 prize: Mark Feldner and Mathew Bonnon For more information about the IEA Breakthrough Prize please visit Summary:  Free-market principles are about more than commerce alone. Competition, accountability and choice, the major pillars of economic liberalism, can equally be applied to our political system. We outline a radical vision of regional tax ... Continue reading

Brexit provides real opportunity to bring down electricity bills for low-income households

Executive Summary: Electricity charges for households in England and Wales have risen by 50 per cent in real terms since 2001, partly as a result of policies designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The decarbonisation policies adopted have been complex and inefficient, and have also been contradicted by other measures such as the reduced rate of VAT ... Continue reading
Executive Summary: When applied to investments in company shares, capital gains tax is generally a double tax because it taxes anticipated profits and retained profits that are taxed elsewhere in the system. It should therefore be abolished. Where investments are designed to hide income as capital gains, income tax should be charged on investment returns ... Continue reading