King’s Speech ‘heavy on intervention, light on liberalisation’

Commenting on the King’s Speech, Mark Littlewood, Director General of the free market think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“The King’s Speech was an opportunity to reset the agenda, yet has proven little more than heavy on intervention, light on liberalisation. While the government promised to ‘make long-term decisions to change this country for the better’, these announcements risk perpetuating Britain’s nit-picky overregulation, high tax, and low growth economic model.

“The new football regulator and digital markets interventions could repel investment into some of Britain’s most successful and innovative sectors. The phased smoking ban strips away personal choice while presenting an enticing business opportunity for black market sellers. The banning of so-called ‘drip pricing’ for airlines risks passengers paying more for services they do not need.

“New trade agreements, including joining CPTPP, will give consumers more choices and provide opportunities for British businesses. Expanding North Sea oil and gas licences is a welcome step towards lower energy costs, but it can only go so far. But without a fundamental shift in economic thinking, we are on the path to another lost decade of economic growth.”


Notes to Editors

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IEA Head of Lifestyle Economics Christopher Snowdon criticised proposals for gradual cigarette prohibition, arguing that ‘It will create a two tier society in which adults buy cigarettes informally from slightly older adults and will inflate the black market in general.’:

IEA Energy Analyst Andy Mayer has written about the decision to grant 27 new North Sea oil and gas drilling licences in CapX, welcoming it as a ‘Win-Win-Win’ for reducing reliance on volatile imports, improving energy security, and raising revenue to invest in a low-carbon future: 

IEA Director of Public Policy and Communications Matthew Lesh has warned that renters’ reform proposals risk making it harder and more expensive to rent. 

Matthew also co-authored research warning that the government’s Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill risks deterring investment and giving too much power to unaccountable regulators.

IEA Editorial and Research Fellow Professor Len Shackleton co-authored research in 2022, which concluded that a football regulator would undermine investment in the game.

Len has also argued that industrial action in key sectors like the NHS may have left the government no choice but to implement minimum service guarantees.

IEA Communications Officer Harrison Griffiths has argued for longer prison sentences to protect the public from the small minority who commit the majority of violent crimes.