Tax and Fiscal Policy

Ed Balls fails to set out plan for growth


Economic Theory

Mark Littlewood discusses a stronger economy for the UK

Housing and Planning

Tinkering policies will do little for families struggling to make ends meet

IEA response to Shadow Chancellor's speech to Labour Conference

Commenting on Ed Balls’ economic plans in his speech to Labour Conference, Professor Philip Booth, Editorial and Programme Director at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

1.  Bank levy

“The Labour Party seems to view the banking sector as a cash cow. Increasing the banking levy for the purpose of funding new spending commitments will reduce bank lending to both businesses and households. This could severely damage the economy.

“Ed Balls has forgotten the purpose of the banking levy: it was designed to compensate taxpayers for costs imposed on government when banks fail. It should be temporary and not be used to finance new spending programmes.”

2. Childcare

“Labour’s approach to childcare seems to be to push up both costs and subsidies. Rather than increasing taxes to help certain types of families, Ed Balls should look to reduce regulation – including planning regulation – to bring down the cost of childcare rather than calling for yet more taxpayer support.”

3. HS2

“It is good the Labour Party are finally recognising that HS2 represents enormously poor value for money. Ed Balls should commit to scrapping this loss-making project.

“Tens of billions of pounds would be better used to reduce taxes to ease the burden of rising living costs for families nationwide.”

Notes to editors:

To arrange an interview with an IEA spokesperson please contact  Stephanie Lis, Communications Officer: 07766 221 268, [email protected] 

In August 2013, the IEA published The High-Speed Gravy Train: Special Interests, Transport Policy and Government Spending. The research showed that HS2 could end up costing taxpayers £80bn, double the current estimate.

In December 2012 the IEA published Redefining the Poverty Debate – Why a War on Markets is No Substitute for a War on Poverty.  Chapter Four addresses childcare costs.

In July 2011 the IEA published Sharper Axes, Lower Taxes – Big Steps to a Smaller State. Chapter Five looked at how increasing regulation of the childcare sector has driven up costs.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.

The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.