The formats of both the annual Budget and Autumn Statement must evolve to focus on tax and spending decisions rather than political "vote chasing", the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has said.
In a Budget submission, the think tank's director general Mark Littlewood called for the abolition of the current all-encompassing Budget and recommended it be replaced with a short statement outlining the changes to tax rates, allowances and borrowing required to meet public spending obligations.
All other announcements should be made by the relevant departments, he said.
Littlewood and his co-authors, Philip Booth and Ryan Bourne, criticised the events of having moved "far beyond [their] original purpose, creating uncertainty for both business and households across the UK".
The measures announced are often politically charged and poorly scrutinised, they argued, and often sit outside of the Treasury's remit.
"For too long we have seen the desire for politicians to claim good headlines trump potentially important yet unpopular policies," the submission read.
Littlewood said: "The Budget is now a fanfare, placing emphasis on good politics at the expense of good economics.
"Rather than governments chasing votes by providing rafts of goodies for various interest groups, we must return to a climate where the transparency of tax and spending decisions are paramount."
In their submission, the authors also called for the Chancellor to pursue policies which meet declared government aims: to reduce the budget deficit; to make the tax system more coherent; to reduce the burden of regulation; and to improve the framework of government for long-term fiscal responsibility.
Their key proposals for measures to be announced in this budget are:
- new legislation requiring thresholds for inheritance tax, stamp duty and all income tax thresholds to be increased annually;
- the ruling out of any kind of wealth or mansion tax;
- the eventual abolition of stamp duty;
- new employment law exemptions allowing new firms and small businesses to treat a certain number of employees as self-employed;
- the abolition of free bus travel, free TV licences and the winter fuel allowance;
- an increase in means-tested pensioner benefits by 1% per year for the next three years.
Find six Budget 2014 predictions HERE.
Read more about last year's Autumn Statement HERE.
Read more about last year's Budget HERE.
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