Right-wing vision of low taxes and quiet cities

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The Independent Online
LITERATE five-year-olds and quiet cities where the petrol engine is banned are part of a Thatcherite vision for the next century which the right-wing Adam Smith Institute has presented to John Major.

In place of the Prime Minister's vision of a Britain of 'long shadows on county grounds, warm beer, invincible green suburbs, dog lovers and pools fillers,' the think-tank says every home will have an 'electronic highway'.

There would be nursery education for three- and four-year-olds, children would be reading and writing and would have acquired some degree of mastery of a foreign language by the age of five, according to its report, 20-20 Vision.

The top rate of tax would be 20 per cent, and the basic rate 10 per cent. The black economy could be legitimised by declaring an amnesty for undeclared businesses.

Guided buses would dominate public transport in petrol and diesel-free cities and inter-city trains would run at more than 200mph.

Motorways and public transport would be privately funded and tunnels would provide new tollways across London.

Technology would be harnessed to combat crime by putting electronic trackers in cars, video sentry cameras in streets, and fitting consumer goods with locator chips to cut down thefts. Persistent offenders could be tagged with radio beacons to enable their movements to be monitored by computer.

Set-aside farmland and derelict sites would be used to create new woodlands covering 65 per cent of Britain, restoring some species such as wolves and bears.

20-20 Vision; ASI; 23 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BL.