And the Guardian reported today that the government’s pledge to create a seven-day NHS could be unworkable due to the existing lack of staffing and funding despite receiving extra money from the Parliament every year. It seems that no matter how much taxpayers’ money is thrown at the problem, there appears to be little prospect of any long-term resolution.
Last year our Public Sector Rich List revealed the staggering pay packets received by some NHS dentists.
30 dentists received more than £300,000 from the NHS, 11 more than £400,000 and five more than £500,000. Those who earned more than £500,000 received an average of £690,572
It’s hard to believe that the architects of the system under which dentists are paid by the NHS intended for some practitioners to be earning almost £700,000 a year, two and a half times what the highest paid consultants revealed in the report were paid.
Sir, James Sproule, of the Institute of Directors, and David Blanchflower make sensible suggestions for tax changes. A VAT cut would reduce prices for consumers while increased capital allowances would encourage investment.
The proposals from the Institute for Public Policy Research for more tax on wealth and the axing of tax relief on buy-to-let mortgages are less welcome. In the 1970s, Denis Healey gave up on a wealth tax after, in his own words, “finding it impossible to draft one that would yield enough revenue to be worth the administrative cost”. Nothing has changed and it would send a terrible message to successful entrepreneurs.
Further, hitting buy-to-let mortgages would result in higher rents and fewer properties being available. The only answer to the housing crisis is reform of the planning system to free up more land for house building and to allow denser construction in urban areas.
CEO, TaxPayers’ Alliance
Southwark Council have spent £15,400 on a new logo which is almost indistinguishable from the old one. Despite complaining about funding cuts, the Labour-led council found £6,819 for designing the new logo and a further £8,581 to spend on implementation.
Justifying the project, the ‘Branding Refresh’ report claims the logo has been "redrawn" to "improve its quality, reduce the size of the ‘S’ and make it more legible" as well as removing a full stop. It takes a keen eye to spot these changes on the new design (click here to have a go).
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) had previously decided that only BBC staff earning over £450,000 should have their salaries published, a decision that we at the TaxPayers' Alliance were quick to condemn as not going far enough.
However yesterday a report by the DCMS Committee suggested that this figure should be lowered to £143 000, a little lower than the Prime Minister’s salary of £143,462, arguing that license fee payers have the right to know where their licence money is going.
The “triple lock” promise – that pensions will always rise by whichever is higher out of inflation, earnings growth or 2.5 per cent – made by the Conservatives before the 2010 election was irresponsibly profligate. In 2015 a report published by the Government Actuary Department estimated that the pension triple lock would cost taxpayers an extra £6 billion a year, an unnecessary waste at a time when government expenditure needs to be falling.
It’s encouraging that the government is rethinking this terrible deal that would see consumers paying exorbitant bills for decades. The technology is completely unproven and the costs and time needed to build the reactors has already doubled since the initial proposal. The new department needs to completely rethink the energy policies and arbitrary targets which are driving up bills and destroying jobs. Even if the government decides more nuclear is capacity is needed, there are far more affordable options available.
A Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report released yesterday has highlighted how the incompetence of HMRC has harmed taxpayers. According to the report, the tax-collecting organisation released 5,600 staff from its personal tax division in 2014-15 in order to ‘live within its budget’. Though a reasonable aim, this led to a ‘significant deterioration in the quality of service provided to customers’. Unfortunately, the average waiting times for the taxes line and the self-assessment line peaked at 34 minutes and 47 minutes respectively.
Earlier today, an article published in the Telegraph highlighted a number of new controversies surrounding the topic UK’s inheritance tax. The article reported that campaigners are calling for a compensation for nearly 30,000 families paying inheritance tax in the two years from April 2015 because the Government “has taken too long to implement changes”.
The NHS faces a compensation time bomb as provisions for hospital clinical negligence claims have almost doubled since last year to £56 billion - almost half of the NHS’s annual budget. The provisions, a pot of money set aside for paying compensation claims for medical blunders, has increased by an eye-watering £28 billion since it was calculated last year.