As budget day looms, announcements about what will be inside the chancellor's budget are uncharacteristically scarce.
8 days to Budget & still no proper leaks. Either (i) nothing major in it, (ii) govt more disiplined or (iii) still undecided. I reckon (i).— Duncan Weldon (@DuncanWeldon) March 12, 2013
So what should George Osborne do? We've discussed suggestions from Allister Heath and the Adam Smith Institute before. Today we look at two more packages of reform that the chancellor could take inspiration from if he finds himself lacking on 20 March.
The Centre for Policy Studies' Ryan Bourne identifies three key areas the chancellor could make progress in: fiscal policy, supply-side reform and liberalisation of heavily state influenced industries. Some highlights:
Spending across all departments and entitlement eligibility must be examined to cut borrowing and free room for significant enterprise-enhancing tax cuts ... the chancellor should pledge that spending cuts will do all the remaining lifting in deficit reduction.
A comprehensive system of sunset clauses for new regulations should be rolled out with implementation audits after three years.
In energy, state subsidies for renewable technologies should be phased out. Legal separation of retail and supply arms of water companies could pave the way for the extension of retail competition.
Leading Conservative Liam Fox has also outlined a set of reforms that could see Britain emerge from stagnation. Fox notes a need to continue downward pressure on expenditure and calls for an overhaul to welfare and taxation. Examples of what could be done:
We must begin a systematic dismantling of universal benefits and turning them into tax cuts ... it leaves money in people’s pockets.
I would like to see CGT reduced to zero for a period before being reintroduced at a sensible level. This would create a tax window where investment in capital becomes more attractive.
It should be a matter of principle for all who wish to encourage thrift, self-reliance and the principle of equity that we should move towards the reduction, or even abolition, of taxes that hit the same money on multiple occasions.