Tax and Fiscal Policy

Budget ‘hasn’t really moved us any closer to where we need to be’, says IEA Executive Director


Energy and Environment
Commenting on the Budget, Tom Clougherty, Executive Director of the free market think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“Today’s Budget tax cuts will provide some relief from the rising cost of living, but ultimately won’t do much to revive the stagnating economy that lies behind most of our current woes. 

“There is a strong fairness argument for the National Insurance reduction, which will partially offset the impact of frozen tax thresholds. And the long-term ambition to abolish National Insurance and simplify the way we tax earnings is a very welcome one – even if it doesn’t seem likely to come to fruition.

“The Chancellor’s changes to child benefit also went some way towards reducing the harm done by his predecessors. A more radical overhaul – including the planned shift to a household basis – can’t come soon enough. 

“Cutting capital gains tax on residential properties is fine as far as it goes. But abolishing Stamp Duty Land Tax – or at least raising the threshold for homes to £1m – would have been a far better way to improve the UK’s antiquated and destructive property tax regime. 

“This Budget didn’t really address the UK’s long-term fiscal challenges, particularly around the impact of an ageing population. On the other hand, it did highlight the absurdity of setting tax policy based on highly variable five-year debt forecasts. Fiscal rules should be a good thing, but the way we’re using them makes no sense at all.   

“There’s no getting away from the fact that raising living standards in the long run depends on generating faster economic growth. And that means prioritising tax reforms with genuine pro-growth impact, fixing our broken planning system so that we can build more of everything, and accepting that we need to couple spending restraint with major reforms to public services.

“As always, there are good and bad things in this Budget. But if we take a broader view of economic policy, it hasn’t really moved us any closer to where we need to be.”


Notes to Editors

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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.