Tom Clougherty

On the whole, a qualified positive

To be sure, there was some good stuff in the budget, and I probably feel more positive about it than I expected to. The additional 1 percent cut in corporation tax, above and beyond what had already been announced, was perhaps the high point, although it will be the 1p cut in fuel duty (replacing

The NHS needs reform, but are Lansley’s the way to do it?

I am in two minds about Andrew Lansley’s proposed reforms of the National Health Service, the cornerstone of which is the transfer of commissioning responsibility from Primary Care Trusts to GP-consortia. On the one hand, the NHS desperately needs radical reform. On the other hand, I’m not sure these are the right reforms, and I’m

High tax Britain

The government says that the forthcoming budget is going to be all about growth. And rightly so: the economy is still in the doldrums, and without much stronger growth than we are currently witnessing, the coalition has no hope whatsoever of balancing the budget by 2015. But few of the measures being trailed in advance

On the eve of the cuts

In economic terms, the role of the Comprehensive Spending Review is a fairly straightforward one: to set Departmental Expenditure Limits for every government department, and outline some of the policy measures that will be undertaken to keep spending within those limits.   Fraser Nelson has already ably summarised the real impact that the spending review

Privatization revisited

The similarities between now and the early years of the Thatcher government can easily be overplayed. Yes, there are parallels: a public sector grown fat on government profligacy, unions leaders stirring up resentment, and a government unsure about quite how radical it wants to be. But there are clear differences too: the political dynamics, the

Reforming the regulators

We all know that the state grew enormously under thirteen years of Labour government. The most obvious manifestation of this was public spending – an increase of 60 percent in real terms took Britain from having one of the lowest levels of government spending in the OECD in 2000 (36.6 percent of GDP) to having

Tipping the scales against legal aid

Britain’s legal aid system continues to fail, and should be abolished for virtually all compensation claims. Reformed Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs for short) should take its place. Those are the headline recommendations of the Adam Smith Institute’s latest report, written by legal expert Anthony Barton.   It’s not difficult to point to problems with legal