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Thursday 26 January 2012

Mail Online: Blackmail pays! Strike-threatening railway union negotiates extra £2,500 to work during Olympics

The Taxpayers Alliance branded the payout ‘outrageous’ and accused RMT leader Bob Crow of bragging about securing the deal.

A spokesman for the organisation said: ‘There will be extra pressure on the transport network in London over the Olympics and Paralympics but instead of rising to the occasion staff are demanding huge overtime and bonus payments for guaranteed extra hours.‘It’s outrageous that DLR staff will be rewarded with such a generous sum simply for turning up to work.

‘It’s even more disgraceful that Bob Crow is bragging about securing this deal when it’s hard-pressed taxpayer who will pay for it.

‘To many taxpayers this will simply look like a bribe not to strike during the Olympics.

‘At a time when there is a pay freeze across the wider public sector and many taxpayers and commuters are struggling with the rising cost of living, tactics like this won’t win staff any friends.’

Click here to read the full story

Evening Standard: Sicknote capital: council workers take 800,000 days off in a single year

The Taxpayers Alliance questioned why staff sickness should be higher in the public sector than the private. Spokesman Robert Oxley said: “Sickness rates in the public sector are always higher than in the private sector and there’s no justification for this.

“There may be a slight difference with the NHS because staff are exposed to higher levels of disease but when it comes to council workers that’s not the case. It vindicates the public perception that council workers are inclined to take ‘sickies’.”

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This is Devon: WMN opinion: No place for councillors in the council pension scheme

The concept of the volunteer is one that David Cameron has rightly championed as part of his promotion of the Big Society. Giving up one’s time, for free, for the benefit of the community, a charity, a school or some other worthy organisation is to be encouraged and applauded. We all moan at times about local government services and the council tax we have to pay. But as a general rule the councillors, who volunteer to take on demanding duties for no more than modest financial reimbursement deserve our praise and our thanks.

[...]

The decision about whether councillors can join local authority employees as members of the pension scheme rests with the council itself. For those already in, there is little that can be done. But we would support the Taxpayers’ Alliance in regretting the fact that the role of councillor is becoming much more professional – in the monetary sense – than is desirable. We urge our councils to close off their pension schemes to any further involvement by councillors. We want well-motivated volunteers, not professional politicians, in the council chamber.

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City AM: Britain’s healthcare system is on the critical list – why are medical unions in denial?

We now spend over 8 per cent of GDP on health. It is the second-largest area of expenditure for the government after welfare. Yet in the developed world’s league tables we fare appallingly. One study by the Taxpayers’ Alliance estimates that compared to other European countries an extra 12,000 deaths occur a year in the UK due to inferior healthcare. We have poor cancer survival rates and comparatively high deaths from circulatory disease. Data from overseas suggest that either European-style, insurance-based funding or, better still, a savings account system as in Singapore would produce better health outcomes at a lower cost.

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Manchester Evening News: Revealed: How Greater Manchester’s town halls spent £1.5 billion of your money

Robert Oxley, campaign manager for the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “Despite the overwhelming need for savings too many councils ares till being frivolous with taxpayers’ money.”

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Evening Standard: Britain’s debt breaks the £1trn mark

A spokeswoman for the Taxpayers’ Alliance lobby group said: “This trillion-pound debt mountain highlights the disastrous state of the public finances.

“It’s a wake-up call that shows the urgent need to cut spending. We will all pay for successive governments’ profligacy for decades to come if we don’t act now.”

Click here to read the full story

Daily Mail: Councillors in dash for gold-plated town hall pensions

The figures for councillors on the scheme was revealed by spending pressure group the TaxPayers’ Alliance.

It put the amount paid by taxpayers in local government pension contributions at £5.063billion a year, with an increasing share attributable to elected councillors.

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Mix96: Everyone in Aylesbury Vale pays £1 a week into council pensions

Everyone in Aylesbury Vale is paying more than a pound a week into Council employees’ pensions.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) has found out how much each council pays into the pension funds of their employees; for AVDC it’s £3.2 million and £17.6m for Bucks County Council.

Click here to read the full story

Oxford Times: City family claims £26,000 a year in housing benefit

Taxpayers’ Alliance spokesman Emma Boon said: “This is further evidence that the proposed welfare cap is a good idea.

“It cannot be right that some people are being supported in accommodation that is more expensive than many taxpayers can afford for themselves.”

Click here to read the full story

This is Total Essex: One councillor, £5k allowance, but zero words

Robert Oxley of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “Councillors can claim generous allowances which are there to cover the expenses of the civic role they’re elected to do.

“If local politicians aren’t taking an active part in council democracy then taxpayers will rightly question why they are paying for them.

“Councillors are more than just votes for political parties, they are there to represent residents and they can’t claim to do that credibly if they’re not contributing.”

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This is Gloucestershire: Taxpayer group slams ‘waste’ of £50,000 on rent

RATEPAYERS will be dismayed by the news that they paid almost £50,000 for an empty building for five years, a campaign group said yesterday.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance was reacting to the revelation that a former special needs training centre was closed in 2006, despite Shire Hall’s rental agreement lasting until this month.

Taxpayers’ Alliance campaign director Emma Boon said: “It is unfortunate that contracts agreed many years ago were simply storing up bills for taxpayers in the future. Residents will be dismayed that tens of thousands of pounds has been wasted on this one building. It might not have made financial sense to keep using the centre but simply paying for it to stand empty has been the worst outcome for everyone.”

Click here to read the full story

Yorkshire Post: Husband told to quit work and claim more, says campaigner

The chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, Matthew Elliott, said: “This is further evidence of the perverse incentives created by the current welfare system.

“DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) staff shouldn’t suggest people or their families quit perfectly good work so that they can claim more benefits at a greater cost to taxpayers.”

Click here to read the full story

Sky News: Sky Investigation: Olympics Bill tops £12bn

Emma Boon, campaign director for the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “In some cases it is very difficult to pick apart Olympic spending and separate it out.

“For example, if you look at things like police budgets particularly, it’s very difficult to say (whether) those officers would have been on duty that day anyway and whether they are specifically doing Olympic duties or not… To a degree we will never know.

“But I think as far as possible the accounts relating to the Olympics have got to be open, they have got to be honest – publish them on the internet, let taxpayers go and have a look at where their money has gone.”

Click here to read the full story

Sky News Blog: Olympic Finance Investigations – A New Olympic Sport?

Today we’ve announced our findings into the true cost of the Olympic Games.

To say this has been like drowning in mud is an understatement. For three months the two of us have been asking questions, submitting freedom of information requests, reading through lengthy reports, asking questions, meeting sources and generally mashing our brains with figures.

[...]

The Taxpayers Alliance told us they’d tried to do the same investigation and had given up as it was just too difficult.

Click here to read the full story

Shropshire Star: Leader: Councillors pensions and the public purse

The figures from the Taxpayers’ Alliance for the amounts being paid out of the public purse towards councillors’ pensions are striking for two reasons.

We dare say that many people will not realise that elected councillors can get pensions. And then there are the figures themselves.

In the Shropshire Council patch, every person is forking out £74 annually towards council staff and member pensions. In Telford area, the figure is over £67.

Press Association: Counicl’s staff pensions cost £12m

Belfast City Council spent almost £12 million on employees’ pensions last year, it has been revealed.

A total of £44.64 per head of population was spent on all staff at the local authority, said a TaxPayers’ Alliance report.

Click here to read the full story

Shropshire Star: Anger over cost of council pensions

Each person in the Shropshire Council area is paying more than £74 every year towards the cost of council staff and member pensions, it was today claimed.

In the Telford & Wrekin Council area the figure is more than £67 per person, according to research published by the Taxpayers’ Alliance, which is highlighting the number of councillors claiming council pensions.

Huffington Post UK: By TPA Campaign Director Emma Boon – How Local Government Pensions add to your council tax bill

This year the government is making available an extra £650 million to help principal local authorities to freeze council tax. In the last 10 years council tax has almost doubled across the UK, yet many residents have not seen a corresponding increase in the services they receive.

Many households are feeling the squeeze with rising bills and an increase in the cost of living, so this freeze will be a welcome relief.

Click here to read the full article

This is North Devon: Westcountry councillors ‘cash in’ on authority pensions

More than 50 Westcountry councillors have been accused of pursuing a “gold-plated pension” rather than public service after new figures revealed the number in local government schemes.

Research conducted by the TaxPayers’ Alliance showed there were 54 councillors – 30 in Cornwall, 21 in Plymouth and three in Exeter – who had signed up for the pensions.

Click here to read the full story

The Bolton News: 15 councillors ‘claiming a Town Hall pension’

ONE-in-four Bolton councillors are claiming local government pensions funded by the taxpayer, a campaign group has claimed.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance has also criticised the amount of money it says families are having to pay towards the pensions of civil servants at the town hall.

Click here to read the full story

 

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