With the Coalition intent on hitting the arbitrary target of spending 0.7 per cent of our national income on international aid, the Department for International Development is awash with taxpayers’ cash and short of ideas on how to spend it.
In a fiercely critical report, an all-party committee of MPs found evidence of two-thirds of DFID’s budget being channelled through inefficient international organisations, money being moved between accounts to hit targets, and other poor spending decisions. Official documents reveal how in 2011, the department was forced to boost spending by £580 million in a frantic rush to meet increasing spending targets, with £130 million used just to increase the value of payments due on a number of projects.
DFID will see its budget increase to £8.2 billion with a superfluous cash injection of an extra £500m this year. This comes at a time when all other Whitehall departments, barring health, face cuts. The government needs to call time on its policy of pouring taxpayers’ money into international development so they can meet meaningless targets and feel self-righteous.
Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, has today announced a crackdown on what he describes as a “secret state” of unelected quangos pushing up Council Tax bills for householders. This is partly in response to the decisions of Manchester, Oldham, and Rochdale councils to increase Council Tax bills in 2013-14 by 3.5 – 3.7 per cent. They have denied local people a referendum by exploiting a loophole in the Localism Act that excludes precepts to such bodies like the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority (GMWDA) and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM). We will be protesting against those councils in Albert Square, Manchester on 16 February at 12 noon. Continue Reading
Writing for theCommentator.co.uk Rory Meakin discusses our recent research showing that the Coalition has raised taxes more than twice as often as they cut them:
On Tuesday the TaxPayers’ Alliance published a report detailing every change to tax policy since the 2010 general election, both planned and already implemented. The figures are startling. While the Coalition has a total of 119 tax cutting measures planned or implemented, this number is dwarfed by that for tax rises — an eye-watering 299.
While Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles blasts some councils across England as ‘democracy dodgers’ by raising council tax just below the 2% required to trigger a referendum, other councils are quietly going about the business of freezing their council tax. In the South West, Somerset County Council (SCC) is freezing its residents’ Council Tax for the fourth year running and yet is still spending on vital frontline services.
By reducing bureaucracy in the council and reorganising working practices with schools and early years providers, SCC hopes to save enough money to invest £4.8m on services for vulnerable children and adults. Despite having to cut its expenditure by £20m, it will find further cash to fix damaged roads and keep libraries open. Continue Reading
Responding to the Office of Fair Trading Report on fuel prices, Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:
“It has been clear for some time that the high cost of petrol in this country is simply a result of high taxes. Today’s OFT report vindicates the decision by the TaxPayers’ Alliance to focus on the taxes that make up sixty per cent of the petrol price – the highest in the EU – rather than the relatively low prices before tax.
“Motorists who need to drive to work, take their kids to school and get to the shops are suffering with petrol prices which are so high. But it is politicians who need to give them a better deal with lower Fuel Duty.”
Our successful Freeze Fuel Tax campaign fuel tax stands on display at thousands of petrol stations around the country telling motorists that 60 per cent of the pump price is tax. Click here to read more about the campaign.