The Adam Smith Institute's Head of Programmes Daniel Pryor responded to Chancellor Rishi Sunak's 2021 Budget
This high-tax, big-spending budget is largely bankrupt of inspired policy.
The Conservatives seem to be out of new ideas, instead sticking to the tired old tax and spend' playbook. Where they see a problem, they reach for your wallet. Housing crisis? Tax developers while watering down planning reform. Social care? Hike up taxes and ignore the red tape.
The Chancellor says he wants a more innovative, high productivity economy but is increasing corporate tax rates that will discourage investment. He says that he wants work to pay but is increasing National Insurance. The new fiscal rules at least signal some interest in controlling public spending, though are conveniently the same metrics the Government is already on track to meet.
There are welcome reforms to tackle increases in the cost of living and working, including on the Universal Credit taper rate, reductions in duties on alcohol, and business rates reform. All of these will help the worst off in society and the hardest hit industries following the pandemic. At the same time, we'll need cheaper pints to cope with the rest of our eye watering tax burden.
Notes to editors:
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The Adam Smith Institute is a free market, neoliberal think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.