Tom Papworth is an independent researcher, policy analyst and writer. He was Director of Policy at Liberal Vision from 2009 to 2011 and continues to contribute to their work. He is a Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute and is currently working at the Institute of Economic Affairs. Tom is also a local councillor: he sits on two planning committees and has represented residents at planning appeals and public enquiries.
With budget day on the horizon, there is intense pressure on the government to find ways to stimulate growth. But it is widely recognise that the Chancellor has very little wriggle-room. Further significant cuts seem off the agenda, and the world can do without more unfunded spending promises. What is needed is a way to boost the economy that costs the government virtually nothing and about which a consensus exists among economists.
While that may sound like a tall order, there is just such an opportunity. Britain’s unbelievably centralised planning system places a straight jacket on our economy, forces people to live in small, expensive accommodation and leads to perversely negative environmental outcomes. Every serious economic study finds that our planning regime is deeply flawed, and yet it remains one of the great pillars of the post-war socialist settlement, virtually unchanged in 65 years.
In a report released earlier this week by the Adam Smith Institute, I argue that we need to tear up the Town and Country Planning Acts and privatise development rights.