By Jonathan Isaby
Where do the Government's policies come from? Last week the Centre for Policy Studies published a list of policies being enacted by the Coalition Government which it claims have their roots in papers published by the CPS.
I have reproduced that list below and have now contacted a number of other leading think-tanks inviting them to submit their own list laying claim to providing the inspiration for ideas being put into action by the Government.
For now, here's the CPS list:
- Tax simplification: the Coalition has announced plans for simplifying the tax system, taking up many of the proposals made by David Martin in Tax Simplification: how and why it must be done (2007). In addition, the proposals for an Office of Tax Simplification were first proposed by the Tax Simplification Committee chaired by CPS Board Member Lord Forsyth (CPS Director Jill Kirby also sat on this Committee; CPS author and Research Fellow David Martin was the Special Adviser to the Committtee; and CPS Editor Tim Knox was the Editor of the Committee's final report).
- Increase tax allowances to £10,000: proposals to increase tax allowances to £10,000 – and to lift millions of people out of paying tax – were first made by Maurice Saatchi and Peter Warburton in Poor People! Stop Paying Tax! in 2001.
- Abolition of the tripartite regulatory regime: recommendations in the Financial Services Regulation Bill to abolish the tripartite regulatory regime, to restore power to the Bank of England and to ensure the Bank of England has the authority needed to ensure overall stability were first put forward by Sir Martin Jacomb in his 2009 CPS report, Re-empower the Bank of England.
- Capital Gains Tax proposals amended: following polling and public advocacy by CPS Chairman Maurice Saatchi and CPS board Member Michael Forsyth, coalition proposals to increase Capital Gains tax were markedly less punitive to savers and investors.
- Proposals to limit tax incentives on savings and pensions to £45,000 were taken up by Government in the 2010 Emergency Budget, just two weeks after first having been recommended by Michael Johnson in Simplification is the Key: stimulating and unlocking long-term saving (2010).
- Freedom for Schools: the Academies Bill and the Education & Children’s Bill give schools greater freedom and autonomy, and reduces bureaucracy. These themes can be traced back to CPS reports such as Freedom for Schools (2000). The latter Bill also takes up a number of detailed recommendations made more recently in Anthony Seldon’s CPS report An End to Factory Schools (2010).
- Abolition of school quangos: to date, the Coalition has announced plans to abolish (or severly cut) the following education quangos: Becta, the QCDA, Partnership for Schools, the National College for Leadership of Schools, Children's Services, the Teacher Development Agency and the General Teaching Council. These plans follow the recommendations made in School quangos: a blueprint for abolition and reform by Tom Burkard and Sam Talbot Rice (2009).
- Reform of the Children's Plan: the Early Years Foundation Stage is to be reviewed, plans to extend free school meals have been cancelled, the School Food Trust and the National Challenge are to be abolished and the Children's Workforce Development Council will be cut by 50% – all following recommendations made by Tom Burkard in Cutting the Children's Plan: a £5 billion experiment gone astray (2010).
- Benefit simplification: proposals for simplification of the benefit system and proposals in the Welfare Reform Bill to reduce the scope for fraud and error both followed the central recommendation of Benefit Simplification: why and how it must be done by David Martin (2009).
- Localism: the Decentralisation and Localism Bill – which devolves more power to the local level – echoes recurring themes of recent CPS events and publications, including the Direct Democracy series (2008) and A Magna Carta for Localism (2010), written by the leaders of the three top Conservative councils.
- Abolition of the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the National Treatment Agency (set for 2012): CPS Research Fellow Kathy Gyngell first proposed the abolition of these bodies in The Phoney War on Drugs. This revealed SOCA's bogus claims and confused role, lack of supply reduction targets and lack of transparency. The same report also uncovered the full cost of the NTA's bureaucractic people processing system from which only 3% of addicts were emerging drug free.
- Liberty: the Freedom Bill and Identity Documents Bill follows many CPS proposals to roll back state intrusion and restore civil liberties, including the abolition of the national children’s database ContactPoint as recommended by Jill Kirby in The Nationalisation of Childhood (2006). It also aims to restrict the expansion of entry powers used by the state to enter private homes as originally recommended in Crossing the Threshold (2007).
I daresay that in making their cases, other think-tanks will claim credit for some of the ideas listed above as well! I will publish their responses in the coming days.