Regulation

New government investment plan still amounts to picking winners


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Responding to the Prime Minister’s speech to the CBI, Mark Littlewood, Director General at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“The Prime Minister maintains that the Government’s industrial strategy is not about picking winners, but then lists an array of industries and sectors where she apparently has a strong instinct about their long term profitability. That is effectively picking winners and is unlikely to work.

“Technology is moving so rapidly that it’s nearly impossible to make a call on which ones will be successful in the future, especially from Whitehall. The Government’s role should only go as far as ensuring a level playing field on regulatory certainty so that emerging companies know exactly which rules they need to abide by.

“The key to securing economic growth and prosperity is to lower the tax and regulatory burden on all businesses. The government should be seeking not merely to lower corporation tax but to phase it out altogether. If the government anticipates that the tech sector may emerge as a more and more significant part of the UK economy, they need to make it easier to set up companies and attractive to hire staff. They don’t need to spend £2bn of taxpayers’ money on R&D – the private sector will do this far more efficiently if given room to breathe.”

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.

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