Government and Institutions

Not much to cheer in the Autumn Statement


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Autumn Statement commentary

Commenting on the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, Professor Philip Booth, Editorial and Programme Director at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“Almost every measure in the Autumn Statement made the tax system more complex, or involved spending promises motivated by interest groups at the expense of the long-term economic interest of the country.

“This Autumn Statement confirms that it should be abolished in its current form, and replaced by a simple mid-year statement explaining progress towards meeting the government’s long-term fiscal objectives.”

“The proposed sovereign wealth fund for the North of England is completely misguided. Any shale gas revenues should be used to reduce taxes or government debt.”

Mark Littlewood, Director General at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“This was an Autumn Statement filled with gimmicks. Many of the Chancellor’s policy announcements will do little more than fiddle around at the margins. The fact is the deficit is still so bad that the room for tax cuts is virtually zero.

“To create the conditions for long-term prosperity, politicians should review not only the scale of state spending but also the scope of government. The maintenance, yet again, of a ring-fence around areas such as schools, health and foreign aid is disappointing.

“The Chancellor was right to scrap cliff edges in stamp duty, which have led to huge distortions in the housing market, although the top rates are perniciously high. Other measures are unclear: it’s hard to see how the proposed tax changes on multinational companies could work, whilst changes to bank tax profits are both retrospective and dangerous.”

Notes to Editors:

Our Post-Budget Briefing will be held tomorrow, 9.15am for 9.30am at The Institute of Economic Affairs, 2 Lord North Street, London SW1P 3LB. Speakers include: Jeremy Browne MP, David Davis MP, Simon Danczuk MP, Jonathan Isaby (TPA), Mark Littlewood (IEA), Steven Woolfe MEP. To RSVP please email [email protected]

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.



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