House of Commons Library

The House of Commons Library is accessible at https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/offices/commons/commonslibrary/   and it is one of the most valuable trade secrets I know. The Library produces reports on almost any topic that is under consideration by Parliament in formats ranging from weekly briefings and briefing packs for debates to deeper research papers often covering the history of legislation in a particular field and an analysis of its economic impact.   Because of its status, the Library has no choice but to produce reports that are authoritative and unbiased, so it provides the best and most reliable summaries of relevant topics.  Would that Wikipedia was so trustworthy.

It is with some sense of vindication that we can report that the Library recently (10 February 2017) published a briefing paper on “Property Taxation and Revenue Incentives”. This paper used a detailed statistical analysis of local authority behaviour following the introduction of 50% Devolution of Business Rates to show that it has had no discernible incentive effect at all.