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Prospect Magazine UK think tank of the year 2014.

Labour's proposed pensions takeaway

Ed Miliband and Ed Balls today announced that a Labour Government would significantly reduce the generosity of the income tax treatment of private pensions. Those with incomes above £150,000 a year would only be able to receive income tax relief at a rate of 20% (rather than the 50% marginal rate of income tax they would face under Labour), the annual pension contribution limit would be reduced by a quarter from £40,000 to £30,000 and the lifetime limit would be cut by one-fifth from £1.25m to £1m. This observation explains that, while there is a case for making some elements of tax-relief on pensions saving less generous, these reforms would be a step in the wrong direction.

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Labour’s higher education funding plans

This briefing note looks at the implications of Labour's proposals for higher education funding plans. One of the authors, IFS researcher Jack Britton said: "Labour have chosen to keep university funding constant in the short-run, but the switch from fees to grants increases the cost to government in the long-run, because some fee loans would have been repaid, while grants will not. High income graduates are the primary beneficiaries, as they are the most likely to repay their loans under the current system. Lower income graduates will be largely unaffected, as their income is not high enough to repay their loans under either system."

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£8 billion giveaway used to boost corporate tax competitiveness

Corporate tax has rarely received as much attention, either from policy makers or the public, as in recent years. The coalition government has enacted a series of policy changes including reductions in the main and small profits rates, changes to capital allowances, the introduction of a preferential rate for patent income (Patent Box), changes to rules concerning the taxation of foreign income, and a raft of anti-avoidance measures. The explicit, and fulfilled, aim was to increase the competitiveness of the UK corporate tax system. This new IFS observation draws out the key findings of today's election briefing note, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, which reviews corporation tax policy changes since 2010 and assesses where this leaves the UK regime in an international context.

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