Together, a decade of loose public spending, fiscal stimulus and the aftermath of the financial crisis left Britain with the highest deficit in its post war history at 10.2% of GDP. Even half a decade later, that deficit is only half closed, and remains high internationally. Budgeting for Balance looks at the experience of fiscal consolidation so far, and how to approach the remainder of the task.
Whitehall Rules! shows how the Government could save £1 billion over the next four years by cutting the amount it currently spends on contractors by just 25%. In 2014/15, Government departments spent £1.01 billion on external contractors, up from £610 million in 2011/12.
On the Move shows how making it easier for people – especially those on low incomes – to commute just a little bit further each day can put them in touch of thousands of extra potential jobs. Proposals from the report for doing so include tax benefits for ride-sharing schemes, introducing part-time rail tickets and devolution rail franchising and commercial bus subsidy.
No Worker Left Behind calls for every person in full time work to receive a 'Living Income' - enough money after taxes and benefits to provide a socially-acceptable standard of living. We can do so by aligning and raising National Insurance and Income tax thresholds to a level where a person on full time work on the minimum wage would be taken out of tax altogether.
The Economics Manifesto says that the next government should seek to create a capital-owning democracy for all, so that each and every person in the UK can benefit from economic growth. The report proposes mass distribution of RBS and Lloyds’ shares, compulsory savings, the introduction of a Bonus Isa and a new generation of private sector Premium Bonds.
The Welfare Manifesto shows how to make the welfare system fit for the 21st Century. The report sets out principles to be make the system simpler, more effective, fairer, more affordable, and reward contribution.
Bonus ISAs proposes a new scheme to give people more flexibility to build up their tax-free savings pots during the course of a lifetime. The "Bonus ISA" would be offered to anybody who is unable to use their full annual tax-free savings allowance (currently set at £15,000). People would be given the power to roll over any unused portions of their existing ISA allowances into their Bonus ISA account.
Making Contributions Count proposes a new unemployment insurance scheme which will put personal contribution at the heart of the welfare system. The scheme would see people who have worked hard and paid their taxes able to draw from a contributory pot to provide a greater level of out of work support if they need it. Upon retirement, the contributions would be released as part of an individual's pension package, which could see people who worked all their lives receiving in excess of £10,000.
Work 2.0 provides a blueprint for how the Work Programme – the government’s flagship welfare-to-work policy – should be improved, including ideas on how to better assess jobseeker needs, how to integrate the Programme into the structures of Universal Credit, and how to better recognise local labour market conditions.