Research

Response to possibility of 'no deal' scenario

Summary:  A 'no deal' scenario, in which the UK simply leaves the Single Market and Customs Union in 2019, does not have to be the 'catastrophe' that many fear. There would be some new barriers to trade with the EU, but these should be manageable.  On the upside, the UK would be able to crack ... Continue reading
Research

IEA's Brexit Unit releases paper making the case for free trade

Executive summary:  From 1990 to 2010, free trade helped a billion people lift themselves out of extreme poverty. But the pace of liberalisation has since slowed and protectionism is back in fashion. Fortunately, Brexit provides a golden opportunity for the UK to become a global champion of free trade again. This is potentially a win-win ... Continue reading
Research

Global economic freedom up slightly; UK ranks 10th among 159 jurisdictions

The United Kingdom ranks 10th out of 159 countries and territories included in the Economic Freedom of the World: 2017 Annual Report. The UK's ranking is unchanged from last year's. Executive Summary:  The index published in Economic Freedom of the World measures the degree to which the policies and institutions of countries are supportive of ... Continue reading
Research

IEA Brexit Unit reacts to the Prime Minister's speech in Florence

Summary: In narrow terms, the Prime Minister's Brexit speech in Florence can be judged against two tests. First, will the offers on the financial settlement and citizens' rights represent 'sufficient progress' to allow talks on the future relationship to begin at last? And second, will the plan for a two-year transition period be enough to ... Continue reading
Research

'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
Research

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
Research

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
Research

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