Matthew Lesh

Matthew Lesh is director of public policy and communications at the Institute of Economic Affairs

Did red tape worsen Britain’s inflation problem?

It has been a miserable few years for our quality of life. People have gotten used to that sinking feeling every time you read a price tag at the supermarket, receive an electricity bill or – particularly for younger generations – think about someday buying a house.This squeeze comes from prices rising faster than wages,

George Osborne’s smoking ban is deluded

Former Chancellor George Osborne has become the latest British politician to call for a smoking ban. The architect of the sugar tax wants the UK to follow the lead of New Zealand, which will prohibit anyone born after 2008 from purchasing cigarettes.  ‘You basically phase it out. Of course you’re going to have lots of

Why WhatsApp could quit the UK over the Online Safety Bill

WhatsApp, Signal and five other messaging services have joined forces to attack the government’s Online Safety Bill. They fear the bill will kill end-to-end encryption and say, in an open letter, that this could open the door to ‘routine, general and indiscriminate surveillance of personal messages’. The stakes are high: WhatsApp and Signal are threatening to leave the

The Online Harms Bill still threatens free speech and privacy 

The Online Safety Bill became a lightning rod for criticism during the Conservative party leadership contest over the summer. A wide array of candidates, from Kemi Badenoch to Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, promised to take another look at how the legislation, and its attempt to crack down on online harms, could interfere with free

Are falling house prices really a tragedy?

Higher interest rates are making borrowing less affordable, so the average buyer has less to spend on a new property. Halifax found that the house price reduction has already begun, with a 0.1 per cent drop last month. Falling house prices can be a harbinger of economic doom – this kind of decline usually signals

How Boris can really tackle the cost of living crisis

When it comes to addressing the cost of living crisis, the government has, so far, responded with a range of bad solutions. The energy price cap is being increased by £700 per household, interest rates have gone up for a second month in a row and the Bank of England is forecasting a two per cent

The EU rules creating an armada of empty ‘ghost flights’

This week it was reported that Lufthansa Group – which also owns Brussels Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Eurowings and Swiss International Airlines – expects to operate 18,000 ‘ghost flights’ with no passengers on them between December and March this year. Other airlines will be following Lufthansa’s lead over the year. At a time when the world

There’s nothing wrong with foreign owned football

Many are blaming the failed European Super League on foreign owners, presenting it as a greed fuelled attempt by overseas banks and businessmen to ruin the beautiful game. The BBC’s political correspondent Ian Watson framed the disagreement as ‘a battle between football fans on the one hand and the predominantly overseas owners of big clubs

Why the UK should support free movement with Australia

If Britain and Australia agree a post-Brexit trade deal, Liz Truss the international trade secretary has said that free movement between the two countries could form part of an agreement. In a press conference this morning in Canberra, Truss explained that ‘Australians want to come and live and work in Britain, and Brits want to

We are all paying the price for May’s desperate bid to define her legacy

Theresa May’s final weeks in Downing Street have been much like the rest of her tenure: ungracious, uninspiring and unprincipled. May’s latest departing gesture is a gigantic £500 million loan guarantee to Jaguar Land Rover to help with the development of electric cars. This follows on from the government’s £120 million loan to British Steel (which is now in

Why the next Tory leader should listen to Philip Hammond

Philip Hammond is up to one last trick before bowing out – and it’s a good one. The Chancellor has called on each of the Tory leadership candidates to commit to ensuring Britain’s debt falls as a share of national income every year. Hammond reportedly asked in a letter to leadership candidates: ‘If we do

Tell us what we want

We live in a logic-obsessed world, from computer modelling of the economy to businesses run by spreadsheets. But we also know, from decades of behavioural economics and evolutionary psychology research, humans are not robots. The social world is not a machine but a complex system. In Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas that Don’t Make

What the Tories can learn from Australia’s election upset

It is hard to exaggerate the level of shock caused by Scott Morrison’s Australian election victory. The re-election of the country’s Liberal party prime minister – and the defeat of left-wing Labor leader Bill Shorten – took the polls and plenty of Aussies by surprise. Earlier this year, Shorten told a bemused Arnold Schwarzenegger “I’m going to be the next

Sadiq Khan is wrong about rent control

Rent control would worsen London’s housing crisis while hurting the poor, immigrants, and minorities. Yet Sadiq Khan wants to make it the central plank of his bid to win re-election as London Mayor. Khan has said the case for rent control is ‘overwhelming’ and that ‘Londoners overwhelmingly want it to happen’. But while some may see rent control