A new report from the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI), the watchdog tasked with monitoring Britain’s aid spending abroad, has found that UK taxpayers’ money is fuelling corruption in recipient countries.
Writing in the Times today, David Cameron made a moral case for cutting taxes. Good. It’s not heard often enough.
What is morally wrong is government spending money as if it grows on trees. Every single pound of public money started as private earning. Every million in the Treasury represents a huge amount of hard work: early morning alarms, long commutes, hours spent on the factory floor, the office, the hospital ward or the classroom. Continue Reading
“These things can happen” is the lame excuse given by the leader of Bath and North East Somerset Council (B&NES), Paul Crossley to the news that work has halted on four major roadworks in and around Bath. Just weeks before the city’s busiest time of the year for shopping, the delays are sure to affect hundreds of retailers already hit by the Council’s previously botched transport schemes. Continue Reading
Henry Smith MP raised recent TaxPayers’ Alliance research, undertaken by Harry Phibbs, at Prime Minister’s Questions today in the House of Commons. He asked David Cameron to address the fact that public sector unions are enjoying subsidised office space up and down the country.
Today saw the publication of a quietly damning National Audit Office report into the ability, or lack thereof, of the Department for Transport to effectively analyse large-scale transport projects.
It does not make pleasant reading for anybody concerned about transport infrastructure in the UK.
The Department has failed, the report says, to adequately challenge economic analyses “where there is strong pressure and lobbying (by Government) for a programme to go ahead.” In short, in situations where politics has been put before policy. The estimated positive impacts of HS1 were said to be “over-optimistic,” and that the Department should have engaged in a “sense-check” before going ahead with the project.
On HS2 – and this is worth quoting at length:
“The original benefit-cost ratio for the first phase of the High Speed 2 programme at 2.4:1 was considerably higher than ratios for other programmes but the Department did not query why this was the case. Later on, it identified that errors in modelling had the effect of some benefits being double counted. After this was corrected and changes made to some other assumptions the ratio is now 1.4:1.”