Conference 2021: tax research days (8-9 September 2021)

These two days will contain a mix of keynote and panel sessions and paper presentations. All will be available online only (two streams running in parallel) or face to face (one stream that will also be live broadcast to remote delegates to create a third stream through the two days). More than 35 research papers will be presented across these two days.

Need a flavour of what you can expect in attending the Tax Research Days at a TRN Annual Conference? See the following tasters from last year’s event: 

For more videos from TRN Annual Conferences, and other TRN activities, please see our Youtube channel at

Keynote and panel sessions for the 2021 conference will include (more details will be announced in the near future):

‘Tax expenditures and fiscal welfare – why both social policy and tax specialists should care’

Professor Adrian Sinfield – Emeritus Professor of Social Policy and University Fellow, University of Edinburgh 

This keynote session will be led by a senior social policy and tax researcher, Professor Sinfield who has spent a career researching and leading policy developments at national and international levels at the interaction between tax policy and social policy. 

Professor Sinfield has researched and taught on the social division of welfare, especially taxation; unemployment and social security; and on poverty and inequality. Past chair and president of the Social Policy Association, he received its first lifetime achievement award.  Co-founder of the Unemployment Unit and chair for its first ten years, he has also been vice-chair of the Child Poverty Action Group. He has acted as consultant to the OECD on the long-term unemployed, youth unemployment and the wider impact of unemployment; to the EC on poverty; to ILO on social security and taxation; and to the UN on industrial welfare.  

Professor Sinfield will present his latest work on tax expenditures in interview with TRN Chair, Andy Lymer followed by a live debate of this important tax policy area (as evidenced by recent NAO studies for example in this area).

‘Border Issues and Behavioural Change: understanding the impact of changes in tax policy on taxpayer behaviour and neighbouring nations’

Session chairs – Sara Closs-Davies (Bangor University) & Amy Lawton (University of Edinburgh)
Keynote speaker – Dyfed Alsop, CEO, Welsh Revenue Authority & Anna Adams, Deputy Director, Head of Tax Strategy Policy & Engagement, Welsh Government

– Rob Hay, Deputy Head of Tax Strategy, Welsh Revenue Authority
– Tony Simpson, Director of Strategic Policy, Department of Finance, Northern Irelan
– Stephanie Gray, Head of the Income Tax and Reserved Taxes Unit, Scottish Government

Dyfed Alsop is the first Chief Executive of the WRA. He started his career in the private sector working for HSBC in Wales and internationally. He moved into civil service and held various roles at HM Treasury before joining HM Revenue and Customs in 2003, where he held positions in the Strategy Unit and in Knowledge, Analysis and Intelligence.  He subsequently held a number of board level roles at the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), recently as Chief Strategy Officer. Whilst at the VOA, he designed and delivered major change programmes, including significant reforms to the local tax system. Dyfed has acted as the Welsh Revenue Authority (WRA) Implementation Director since August 2016. 

Anna Adams is Deputy Director for Tax Strategy, and Intergovernmental Relations at the Welsh Treasury, where she is responsible for the formulation and development of tax policy for the Welsh Government. Prior to joining the Welsh Government, Anna worked for the City of Philadelphia for 11 years, most recently serving as Budget Director.

Tony Simpson is the Director of Strategic Policy in the Department of Finance, Northern Ireland. He is also the Head of Profession for the 130 Economists working across Northern Ireland Government.

Tony’s area of responsibility includes: developing and implementing policy in relation to the devolution of fiscal powers; public sector pay policy; banking & access to finance; as well as a broad range of other economic policy areas and major expenditure appraisal & evaluation. Recently Tony led the work to establish the Independent Fiscal Commission for Northern Ireland in March 2021 which is carrying out a comprehensive review of the case for increasing the tax varying powers of the NI Assembly. He also led the establishment of the Northern Ireland Fiscal Council earlier this year, which for the first time will be responsible for independently scrutinising and reporting on the sustainably of the NI Budget.

Prior to joining the Department, Tony has worked as an Economist in the Department for Enterprise, Trade & Investment where he was heavily involved in the Independent Review of Economic Policy.  Prior to that he has also worked in the Department of Regional Development on the reform of water & sewerage services; and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Stephanie Gray is currently Head of the Income Tax and Reserved Taxes Unit in the Scottish Government. Since joining Scottish Government in 2010, Stephanie has worked in a number of roles, across education and funding for schools, welfare and constitutional reform, and disability benefits policy. She joined the Scottish Exchequer in 2017 to lead work on the fiscal impacts of EU Exit and EU funding, before moving to Tax Division earlier this year (picture to follow)

‘The dreadful monster and its poor relations- taxing, spending and the United Kingdom 1707 – 2021’ – a panel debate based on The Dreadful Monster and its Poor Relations (

Session chair – Alexis Brassey, Cambridge University
Keynote speaker – Julian Hoppit, Astor Professor of British History, UCL (the book’s author)
– Dominic de Cogan, University Senior Lecturer, Cambridge University 
– Chantal Stebbings, Professor of Law and Legal History, University of Exeter
– Martin Daunton, Professor Emeritus of Economic History at the University of Cambridge

Julian Hoppit joined UCL in 1987 as a lecturer and is now the Astor Professor of British History and a Fellow of the British Academy. Initially, his research was as an economic historian, exploring business enterprise in eighteenth-century England. He then wrote a general survey of English history from the Glorious Revolution of 1688-9 to 1727. More recently he has focused on the relationship between politics and the economy in Britain between 1660 and 1800. He is currently working on a project called ‘Public finances and the Union, 1707-1978’ which considers the territoriality of central government taxation and expenditure within Britain and Ireland, including public reactions to that.

‘Taxation and housing – how do we get the relationship right?’

Session chair – Carlene Wynter (Aston University)
Keynote speaker – Stuart Adam (Institute for Fiscal Studies) 
Amanda Tomlinson – CEO Black Country Housing Group

James Gregory – Senior Research Fellow, CHASM, University of Birmingham
Marc Greggi – Professor of Tax Law, University of Ferrara, Italy

Stuart Adam is a Senior Research Economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, where he has worked for almost 20 years. His research focuses on analysing the design of the tax and benefit system, covering the full range of personal, business and indirect taxes and how they interact. He has written widely on the taxation of residential and commercial property, including major reports last year on how and why to reform council tax in England and Wales. Stuart was an author and editor of the influential Mirrlees Review of the UK tax system.

Amanda has been Chief Executive of Black Country Housing Group since 2013. Prior to that she operated at Executive level for over 10 years and has a professional background in Finance as a former Finance Director with CIPFA qualification. Amanda is also an Executive Board Member of Black Country Housing Group Board.

In addition to her current CEO role Amanda is a Director of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, Chair of Active Black Country, Board Member of Dudley Towns Fund Board and Governor at Wolverhampton College.

Amanda is keen to ensure that BCHG continues to be much more than a local housing provider, supporting our local communities through the provision of a range of services creating positive social impact.

Dr James Gregory is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre on Household Assets and Savings Management (CHASM), based jointly in the School of Social Policy and the Birmingham Business School at the University of Birmingham. James is interested in homeownership, asset-based welfare, and neighbourhood research. Most recently, James has been working on savings strategies for low-income households and has recently completed a book on housing policy and wellbeing.

Marco Greggi is Professor of tax law at the University of Ferrara, Department of law, where he is also member of the EU Law Centre and of the Scientific council of the Ph.D in European Law.

Marco is also member of the Tax Court of Appeal advisory body on case-law analysis (Ufficio del Massimario) in the city of Bologna. He has been appointed as visiting Professor and he lectured in several Universities including (in the latest years): Lyon 3 “Jean Moulin”, ELTE (Budapest), CUPL (Beijing). He is author of three books (In Italian) on royalties taxation and VAT and of several articles including “Analysis of the Legal Basis for Establishing the Property Tax in the International Context” (DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.2273230) published during a period at the University of Seoul as Research Fellow.

Previously he has been a speaker for the Lincoln Institute on Land Policy and he has lectured on immovable property taxation for the IPTI (International Property Tax Institute) in Brazil – Sao Paulo (2012).

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