Think Tanks


27 Mar 2010 15:01:53

Civitas warns of balance of payments crisis

R129736_514373 A new Civitas report, written by Professor Rowthorn and Ken Coutts, warns that the UK faces a worsening balance of payments deficit in the years ahead. It identifies three big worrying factors:

  • UK domestic spending will increase by 1.5% p.a. in 2010, 2.5% p.a. in 2011 and 3% thereafter - sucking in consumer goods;
  • The real price of imported food will increase at 2% p.a. from 2010;
  • UK energy imports will rise as the volume of UK North Sea oil production falls by 7% p.a. from 2010.

The report recommends three main courses of action:

  • Future reform of the financial sector should be designed to contribute to the export potential of this sector.
  • In the case of manufacturing and knowledge-intensive services, there is scope for an 'industrial policy'.
  • A further devaluation of sterling.

Without action, warn the authors, the UK deficit is likely to more than double from the 2009 rate of 2% of GDP to almost 5% in 2020.

Click here for a PDF of the full report.

16 Feb 2010 07:53:47

Respublica joins the blogging think tanks

Screen shot 2010-02-16 at 07.39.20 Respublica, the think tank of 'Red Tory' Philip Blond, is the latest to launch a blog. It has been named The Disraeli Room. Mr Blond's first post focuses on the big idea of "ownership".

Many think tanks featured by ThinkTankCentral already have established blogs:

Policy Exchange and Reform don't have their own blogs but they do have accounts on and probably reach wider audiences via that channel. Reform's contributions are here and PX's here

Tim Montgomerie

13 Feb 2010 08:30:07

Civitas report calls for reduction of corporation tax to 15% by 2020

C-Home-UK-flag-girder A Civitas report, authored by Corin Taylor and Richard Bacon, calls for corporation tax to be cut to 15% over the next ten years.

The report points to an independent survey that finds a significant risk of business flight because of Britain's increasingly uncompetitive tax regime:

"KPMG's most recent annual survey on the UK's tax competitiveness found the proportion of groups surveyed that were actively considering leaving the UK had more than doubled, from 6% the previous year to 14%. Of the 20 FTSE 100 companies surveyed in November 2009, four were actively considering moving."

Britain has become increasingly uncompetitive since 2000:

"A 2000 survey of corporation tax rates across 86 countries worldwide found that the average corporation tax rate was 31.1%, above the UK's rate of 30% in that year. In 2009, the average rate across the 116 countries surveyed was just 24.2%. The UK headline rate is 28%... Out of the 86 countries surveyed worldwide, the UK had the joint 29th lowest corporation tax rate in 2000. In 2009, the UK's rate was the 68th lowest out of the 116 countries surveyed."

Bacon and Taylor estimate that the cost of a 15% corporation tax would be between £12.4bn and £

Responding to the report Shadow Treasury Minister David Gauke said:

'This report is further evidence that Labour has failed to keep our corporate tax system competitive.  It is vital that we reverse this decline and get the country back on its feet.  One of the benchmarks we are going to ask the British people to judge us on is whether we improve the UK's rating for tax competitiveness.  As a start, we will cut the corporation tax rate from 28p to 25p and our ambition is to have the most competitive corporate tax environment in the G20."

We've emphasised those final words. They are quite an ambition but fit with what ConHome has been saying George Osborne is planning.

More here on the Civitas report.

8 Dec 2009 10:45:15

Profile of Civitas

Civitas Key people

The team includes the Director, Dr David Green, Deputy Director Robert Whelan (who is also Managing director of the New Model School Company) and Deputy Director Anastasia de Waal, who is responsible for research. The Chairman of their Trustees is the Hon Justin Shaw.

Basic philosophy

Civitas is the Institute for the Study of Civil Society. It started as the Health & Welfare Unit of the Institute of Economic Affairs but divorced from it in order to grow and because libertarian elements within the IEA disapproved on the focus on non-narrowly economic issues.

Civitas has given a lot of attention to the failings of state schools, hospitals and welfare provision as well as carrying out research on crime and immigration.

Recent achievements

Very much a "do tank" Civitas' most impressive recent effort has been establishing three independent day schools for primary school aged children. The fees (about £5,000 a year) are much lower than other fee paying schools. They are roughly in line with the cost per pupil of state education. The company that operates them is an offshoot of Civitas called The New Model School Company Ltd. The lessons learnt in the process are an important influence on Michael Gove MP as he drafts a supply-side revolution for the whole of the UK schools system.

A related Civitas project concerns supplementary schools. These have provided lessons for 350 children a week who have been let down by the state system. They have also undertaken a literacy project in Tottenham with the London Boxing Academy. Youths who have been permanently excluded from state schools are helped through a mixture of sport and academic work to pass their GCSEs.

Continue reading "Profile of Civitas" »