The Richard Koch Breakthrough Prize, organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in London, looks for essays that will “exuberantly and openly seek new, exciting, free-market solutions to improve the prosperity of the bottom third of society in advanced economies.”
The 2017 winner of the £50,000 prize, an essay about local tax freedom by two Cambridge graduates, supports the idea of allowing regions and their cities to become self-governing, including having the power to set local tax rates for individuals and firms.
Four highly commended prizes were also awarded, each worth £2,500. The proposals that they outlined include a means tested voucher system for private tuition and educational support for disadvantaged families; a chain of low cost private schools in the UK; Friendly Lending, a new kind of tax relief which encourages direct lending to social entrepreneurs and those on low incomes in the UK; and a Freedom of Housing Act to allow the UK property market to expand.
Commenting on his reason for launching the prize, Richard said: “I believe in the power of bold new market-based policies to change the economy and society. Ideas such as free trade, privatisation, and the sale of council homes have proved their magic. Now is the time for a great new idea of similar force for good. So I am offering this Breakthrough Prize to transform the fortunes of millions of people whose lives are less rich than they should be. The idea exists; it is out there somewhere, in your mind and your imagination. Liberate the best idea in your mind and you can make a huge difference.”
Richard Koch (History, 1968) is a former management consultant, entrepreneur, and writer of several books on how to apply the Pareto principle (80/20 rule) in all walks of life. Richard has also used his concepts to make a fortune from several private equity investments made personally. Richard’s investments have included Filofax, Plymouth Gin, Belgo, Fanduel and Betfair. Previously he had been a consultant at Boston Consulting Group and later a partner at Bain and Company, before leaving to start management consulting firm L.E.K. Consulting with Jim Lawrence and Iain Evans.