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

Healthy food cheaper than 'junk food', finds new IEA research

Summary: It is widely believed that healthy eating is relatively expensive whereas ‘junk food’ is relatively cheap. This has led to an assumption that poor diets and obesity are directly caused by economic deprivation. Some studies have compared the price-per-calorie of various types of food. The inherent bias of this method has the effect of making many ... Continue reading

IEA calls for 9p flat rate of tax on alcohol to fix illogical system

Summary: Excessive drinking creates costs to public services which the government can recoup through alcohol taxes, thereby making drinkers internalise the costs. However, in Britain, the alcohol duty regime is excessive and illogical. Not only do revenues from alcohol duty far exceed the costs to public services, but units of alcohol are taxed at dramatically ... Continue reading

Many families now spend a third of their net income on childcare

Summary:  Decisions on childcare arrangements were largely a private matter until the 1990s. A political consensus has since arisen that government action is needed to raise the quality of provision, to make it more affordable and to support parental labour market attachment. Childcare and pre-school policy is accordingly a fast-growing area of state intervention. The ... Continue reading

Obesity costs less than half as much as the government claims

Summary:  This is the first study to estimate the annual savings that overweight and obese people bring UK taxpayers by dying prematurely (in 2016 prices). Ignoring these savings leads to substantial overestimation of the true burden of elevated body mass index (BMI) to the taxpayer. Our estimate of the present value of pension, healthcare and ... Continue reading