Grants / Projects we are funding

Institute for Fiscal Studies – Supporting debate on a fair an sustainable UK tax system

Grant details


Awarded on:01/11/2018

Duration:22 months


Area of interest

Systems change

Themes covered


Our tax system needs to change, it can no longer cope with the demands of a changing society. But there are too many misconceptions about tax, the fairness of it, who pays what and who doesn't. In order to create the grounds for an informed, rationale public conversation about tax the IFS plans to create easy to understand materials, in a range of formats, that pull out their knowledge about tax and the implications of different tax policies

What is the issue?

A resilient economic system that is fair and sustainable requires tax policy that is fair and robust to future challenges. The UK’s challenges are significant. Tax revenues will soon reach the highest share of national income since 1969, but public services will remain under significant strain. That strain will increase significantly in coming decades as pressures from healthcare costs and an ageing population grow. There are also substantial downside risks for tax revenues arising, for example, from the move to more efficient vehicles and growth in self-employment both of which reduce revenues. The UK needs a debate about how tax policy can equitably and efficiently address a growing gap between actual and required revenues.

What will the project try to achieve?

In this project the IFS will seek to improve the broad tax debate in two ways. First, they will produce and disseminate accessible analysis on why there is growing pressure to raise additional tax revenue and how the UK could raise additional revenues in a fair, efficient and acceptable manner. Second, they will create a new, dedicated section of the IFS website designed to be an engaging ‘one stop shop’ for tools and resources on tax. Producing high quality, impartial information and ensuring that it is accessible and well understood is an effective response to the broad concern that the UK will struggle to achieve a more resilient economic system without a higher quality public debate on tax. The IFS can provide detailed and specific analysis of tax policies and their likely effects by drawing on in-house capacity, including deep understanding of UK policy institutions and the advanced IFS tax and benefit simulator that allows the distributional effects of policy to be assessed.

Who might be interested in this project?

The aims is to ensure that all parties – including journalists, policy makers, advisors, researchers, campaigners and educators – have access to a common set of facts about tax, so that these can be used to support productive debates about how the UK meets its various challenges.