Conservatives pledge new transparency in town halls

March 05, 2010 3:45 PM

The TPA have a longstanding campaign for greater transparency in public spending.  People have a right to know how their money is being spent.  Recently we published a research note showing that many councils have been fighting, with some success, transparency in local government pay.  In our report with the Institute of Directors on how to save £50 billion, we argued that independent groups would be able to do much more to identify potential cuts and help drive greater efficiency with spending transparency.  There will be more material about spending transparency in our upcoming book How to cut public spending and win an election.

Now, the Conservatives have announced a series of measures to improve transparency in local government.  Councils will be required to publish:


  • The full remuneration package of all senior staff, earning above £58,500, including name and post.

  • All items of expenditure above £500, and publish contracts and tender documents in full.

  • Information on councillors’ expenses in open and standardised format so the public can compare expenses across the country.


Those new commitments are a very welcome development.

Matthew Sinclair, Research Director at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“These new proposals are brilliant news.  Pioneering councils like Windsor and Maidenhead have already shown that it is possible to provide taxpayers with a full and detailed account of local authority spending.  Better information will help councils get better value for money and give ordinary people a better idea of how their money is spent.  The Conservatives are also absolutely right to apply pay transparency to all senior council staff, only proper public scrutiny can restrain the growth of the high-paid council bureaucracy.  These proposals would shine a welcome light into some of the darkest corners of local government.”

The TPA have a longstanding campaign for greater transparency in public spending.  People have a right to know how their money is being spent.  Recently we published a research note showing that many councils have been fighting, with some success, transparency in local government pay.  In our report with the Institute of Directors on how to save £50 billion, we argued that independent groups would be able to do much more to identify potential cuts and help drive greater efficiency with spending transparency.  There will be more material about spending transparency in our upcoming book How to cut public spending and win an election.

Now, the Conservatives have announced a series of measures to improve transparency in local government.  Councils will be required to publish:


  • The full remuneration package of all senior staff, earning above £58,500, including name and post.

  • All items of expenditure above £500, and publish contracts and tender documents in full.

  • Information on councillors’ expenses in open and standardised format so the public can compare expenses across the country.


Those new commitments are a very welcome development.

Matthew Sinclair, Research Director at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“These new proposals are brilliant news.  Pioneering councils like Windsor and Maidenhead have already shown that it is possible to provide taxpayers with a full and detailed account of local authority spending.  Better information will help councils get better value for money and give ordinary people a better idea of how their money is spent.  The Conservatives are also absolutely right to apply pay transparency to all senior council staff, only proper public scrutiny can restrain the growth of the high-paid council bureaucracy.  These proposals would shine a welcome light into some of the darkest corners of local government.”

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