Tax and Fiscal Policy

IEA: Chancellor’s speech a “mixed bag” of economic policies


Press Release

Mark Littlewood responds to the Prime Minister's party conference speech

Mark Littlewood responds to the Chancellor's party conference speech

Commenting on Sajid Javid’s speech to Conservative Party Conference, the Institute of Economic Affairs’s Director General Mark Littlewood said:

“The Chancellor’s speech was a mixed bag of policy proposals – some would boost growth and innovation in the UK, and others would damper it.

“Sajid Javid’s launch of the “Brexit red tape challenge” is a welcome step towards removing regulatory barriers that slow economic growth and particularly burden small businesses. 

“But the Treasury shouldn’t forget that plenty of stifling regulations – including the restrictive planning system, which stops young people from getting on the housing ladder – are not enforced by the European Union, but native to the UK. It is in Britain’s hands to redraft or remove these barriers completely, inside or outside the EU.

“As well, the Chancellor should be cautious to promote an “infrastructure revolution” that is rooted in central planning and state spending. Government often makes woeful predictions about economic needs in the near future, and is in no position to predict infrastructure requirements needed in a decade’s time.

“And as long as HS2 remains on the Treasury’s books, it is near-impossible justify any hike in transport spending, when devolved, local infrastructure projects should be prioritised over the Government’s grandstanding pet-project. 

“But most worryingly, the Chancellor as further politicised wage-setting today, by pledging to hike the National Living Wage to £10.50 within the next five years. The possible dangers of a political bidding war over minimum wages are numerous, and would most badly impact the lowest-paid in Britain – the cohort of people the Chancellor says he most wants to protect.”
Notes to editors:

For media enquiries please contact Emma Revell, Communications Manager: 07931 698 246

For further IEA reading on red tape, click here.

For further IEA reading on housing, click here.

For further IEA reading on HS2, click here.

For further IEA reading on wage-setting, click here.

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