FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
£50,000 IEA BREAKTHROUGH PRIZE AWARDED TO ENTRY CALLING FOR A PEOPLE’S TAX REBATE
Timothy Foxley, a 26-year-old strategic communications consultant from Stoke-on-Trent, has been announced as the winner of the £50,000 Breakthrough Prize.
The prize – run by the Institute of Economic Affairs and supported by entrepreneur and author Richard Koch – sought to find the best way of supercharging growth, employment and living standards in ‘left-behind’ Britain.
The policy needed to be politically possible, pro-market and pro-enterprise. It was judged by a panel including Richard Koch, IEA Director General Mark Littlewood, former IEA Academic and Research Director Lord Syed Kamall and Dehenna Davison MP, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Bishop Auckland.
Timothy’s winning entry, which he calls ‘The People’s Rebate’, is a proposal to cut income tax and national insurance contributions for taxpayers in deprived areas.
Timothy states that growing up in one of the UK’s “left behind” areas demonstrated first-hand how the decline of a proud city can be exacerbated by the interventions of poor local and national politicians. This gave him the inspiration for his entry to the competition: to get the government out of the way of “left behind” areas while increasing their local spending power.
Timothy describes The People’s Rebate as a politically possible means of reducing taxes, encouraging entrepreneurship and improving living standards, specifically improving less prosperous areas.
Under the proposed system, taxpayers would receive a significant (up to 90 per cent) rebate of their income tax and National Insurance (NI) contributions based on where they live; employers would also receive NI rebates. The more deprived the area, the larger the rebate.
This would deliver an immediate and automatic spending boost in lower-income areas. In the medium-term, it would encourage the highest-paid workers and businesses with high NI bills – who would have most to gain from a lower tax rate – to move to lower-income areas, rather than clustering in a few cities and counties. This would increase local spending, provide more local tax revenues, and attract bright, skilled people to the area.
The author argues that tax breaks focused deliberately on those in poor areas could appeal to people across the political spectrum: the Conservative Party would likely value cutting taxes and trusting individuals rather than the state to make spending decisions, while it would also appeal to left-wing voters by delivering a significant increase to workers’ incomes in the poorest areas of the country.
Timothy Foxley, winner of this year’s Richard Koch Breakthrough Prize, said:
“I am delighted that my policy idea for the People’s Rebate was selected as the winner of the competition. I am incredibly grateful to Richard Koch and the IEA for this opportunity, and to Dehenna Davison MP for setting such an important question.
“It is about time that the plight of ‘left-behind’ areas was brought to the forefront of political debate in the UK. Growing up in a proud but declining post-industrial town leaves two marks: a sadness at the deterioration, and the knowledge that no active government intervention will ever reverse it. By contrast, cutting taxes specifically in these areas, allowing people to keep and spend more of their own money, would go a significant way to solving this longstanding problem.”
Commenting on the winning submission, Mark Littlewood, Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:
“Supercharging growth and boosting living standards in some of the most deprived areas of the United Kingdom is one of the most challenging tasks of our time.
“We were particularly impressed by the calibre of entries to this year’s Richard Koch Breakthrough Prize, and I would like to pass on my huge congratulations to our winners.”
Richard Koch, supporter of the prize and member of judging panel, said:
“The quality and breadth of entries to the Breakthrough Prize this year were particularly impressive. The winning entry by Timothy Foxley for a ‘People’s Rebate’ is just the kind of bold policy our politicians should be looking at if we are to return left-behind areas of Britain to full prosperity.”
Dehenna Davison MP, chair of this year’s judging panel, said:
“This year’s Richard Koch Breakthrough Prize has made an incredibly important contribution to one of our nation’s most pressing issues. I would like to congratulate Timothy Foxley as well as our runner-up, Michael Dnes, for their brilliant ideas to help boost the most deprived areas of this country.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. MEDIA ENQUIRIES
To arrange an interview with the winners, or for any other media enquiries, please contact Annabel Denham, Director of Communications, on 07540770774.
2. ANNOUNCEMENT OF WINNER
The announcement of the prize was at an event in central London this evening. For more details, contact Annabel Denham as above.
3. ABOUT THE WINNER
Timothy is a strategic communications consultant working in the Middle East. Prior to this, he worked as a Parliamentary Assistant to Jack Brereton, a 2017-intake Conservative MP representing his hometown of Stoke-on-Trent, and stood as a Conservative candidate in the 2019 City Council election. He holds a BA in English Literature from King’s College London, and an MA in International Affairs & Diplomacy from the University of Buckingham.
4. WINNING ENTRY
To download Timothy Foxley’s winning entry, ‘The People’s Rebate’, click here.
The runner-up, Michael Dnes, will receive the Runner-up Prize of £10,000.
Michael is a civil servant and transport historian, who led the 2020 roads investment strategy and got government to commit to building the first new trans-Pennine dual carriageway in fifty years. He has also published a book about London’s catastrophic plans for urban motorways in the 1960s, while trying not to re-enact them in a professional capacity. Originally from Nottingham, he now works in London.
His entry proposes returning human capital to left behind parts of the UK through a range of new ‘Zoom Towns’, combining cheaper property prices with world class digital infrastructure to benefit both locals and those wanting to move outside of the big cities.
To download Michael’s entry, ‘Zoom Towns’, click here.
6. HIGHLY COMMENDED AWARDS
Eight entries were chosen to receive Highly Commended awards:
To download Martin Higgins’ essay ‘Turf Moor into Singapore’ click here.
To download Rosemary Enright’s essay, ‘Xchange UK’, click here.
To download Vignesh Kamath’s essay, ‘Smart specialisation’, click here.
To download Michael Bracken’s essay, ‘Freeport UK’, click here.
To download Duncan Neill’s essay, ‘Innovation Network Credits’, click here.
To download Erik Paessler’s essay, ‘Digital Working’, click here.
7. ABOUT THE RICHARD KOCH BREAKTHROUGH PRIZE
This year’s Breakthrough Prize asked for the best ways of supercharging growth, employment and living standards in ‘left behind’ Britain.
Competitors were asked to propose a single policy initiative that would be pro-market and pro-enterprise, and that would encourage an entrepreneurial and ambitious mindset across the whole of society.
They were asked to put forward solutions that would reduce red tape, bureaucracy and barriers to entry for individuals and businesses, and that would recognise and support the needs of regions across the UK, rather than being London-centric.
For more detailed information about the remit and entry criteria please visit: www.breakthroughprize.org.uk.
Richard Koch – who is supporting the Prize – is a British author, speaker, investor, and a former management consultant and entrepreneur. He has written over twenty books on business and ideas, including The 80/20 Principle, which is about how to apply the Pareto principle in management and life.
8. ABOUT THE IEA
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.