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The role of the UK tax system in an anti-poverty strategy: new ISER report commissioned by JRF Economic principles and practical reforms

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ISER has published a new report The role of the UK tax system in an anti-poverty strategy by Professor Mike Brewer and Dr Ricky Kanabar, commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation as part of their programme of work on an anti-poverty strategy for the UK.

The report provides a guide to the economic arguments behind tax design, and suggests how best to engage in economic debates about the UK tax system from a poverty perspective.

It also highlights some specific reforms that are likely to lead to a fairer and more efficient tax system as well as making a worthwhile contribution to an anti-poverty strategy. It focuses on key design issues rather than on detailed rules and operational issues.

The report gives a brief overview of how economists think about good tax design, discusses some of the value judgements or assumptions that are made when discussing tax policy and poverty, and offers guidance on how one should think about the different ways in which the tax system affects poverty.

The report also considers the main taxes in the UK and discusses the arguments for and against specific reforms and their inclusion in an APS. These include personal direct taxes (Income Tax and the taxation of savings); National Insurance contributions (because they function very similarly to a form of direct taxation); the taxation of housing; the taxation of non-housing wealth (chiefly pensions and savings); the taxation of businesses and environmental taxes.

Download the report The role of the UK tax system in an anti-poverty strategy