Letter to The Times: Successive justifications for HS2 have failed to convince
Mar 2014 17

The TaxPayers’ Alliance has co-signed the following letter which has been published in today’s Times:

Sir, There are few more iconic images of the recent storms and the flooding which devastated so many thousands of lives than the Great Western Line at Dawlish collapsing into the sea, cutting off the main rail route to the South West of England.

This underlines the stark choice in determining priorities for investment in Britain’s transport network — between investment in increasing resilience, developing regional transport connections and relieving the plight of the thousands forced to stand on trains each day, or ploughing ahead with a London-centric high-speed line with a dreadful business case which connects just four cities.

Successive justifications for HS2 have failed to convince, so its supporters are asserting that the West Coast Mainline is full to capacity and HS2 is needed to relieve it. Yet Network Rail’s latest figures show that intercity trains are running at just 52 per cent full into Euston station at peak times, and that Euston is one of London’s least busy termini.

With the Treasury predicting that HS2 will cost £73 billion — £1,500 for each adult in Britain — as well as causing huge environmental damage, it is clear that the time has come for a comprehensive review of the UK’s transport priorities, and where, if at all, HS2 fits with this.

Hilary Wharf, HS2 Action Alliance;
Baroness Bakewell;
Natalie Bennett, Green Party;
Sir Keith Bright, ex London Regional Transport;
Dr Eamonn Butler, Adam Smith Institute;
Nigel Farage, UKIP;
Sir Christopher Foster, Network Rail;
Jonathan Isaby, TaxPayers’ Alliance;
Denise Jeffery, Wakefield Council;
India Knight;
Ruth Lea, Arbuthnot Banking Group;
Dr Madsen Pirie, Adam Smith Institute;
Mary Portas;
John Prideaux, Intercity and British Rail;
Roger Salmon, ex Rail Franchising;
Alexei Sayle;
Chris Stokes; ex Strategic Rail Authority;
Martin Tett, Bucks County Council;
Sir Andrew Watson, CPRE Warks;
Sir Barney White-Spunner, Countryside Alliance;
Baroness Wilkins;
Paul Wilkinson, The Wildlife Trust

 

Bristol students raise glasses to cut wine and spirits tax campaign
Mar 2014 14

Bristol University students packed local favourite pub The White Bear to add their support to our campaign to Call Time on Duty. Brandishing our wine mats bearing the facts about how much tax we pay on our drinks, they demanded that the Chancellor George Osborne cut the duty on wine and spirits in next week’s Budget.

‘As a student, I make a habit of shopping for the best food deals, and skimping on heating to get lower bills,’ says Bristol student Victoria Newark. ‘The high duty that government imposes on wine makes a mockery of students’ hard attempts to keep living costs down.’

‘I would like to see a reduction in wine duty,’ says Newark, ‘as I face enough expenditure and debt without this sneaky government tax on a fun night out.’

Just click on this link and insert your postcode to contact your local MP calling for him to help act on bringing down the duty on wine and spirits. How can you refuse!

George Osborne must declare a war on waste and cut taxes in a Budget for taxpayers
Mar 2014 13

The 2014 Budget provides the last meaningful opportunity for the Chancellor to help hard-pressed taxpayers before the General Election.

In next week’s Budget, the Chancellor should:

  • Declare a War on Waste to cut out unnecessary spending
  • Cut taxes to stimulate investment, create jobs and ease the cost of living
  • Reform taxes and reassess the structure of government

These three areas are covered in the TaxPayers’ Alliance submission to HM Treasury in advance of the Budget. You can read our full submission here.

Key recommendations include:

Waste

  • Public sector pay and pension reform including an end to the gap between public and private sector pay.
  • An end to the NHS ring-fence with a reduction in NHS spending in line with other departments.
  • Scrap the HS2 white elephant and use some of the money saved for better value rail and road projects.

Taxes

  • Cut both employer’s and employee’s National Insurance to 11 per cent.
  • Abolish the alcohol duty escalator.
  • Cut the main rate of Corporation Tax to 20 per cent in 2014 instead of 2015.
  • Cut Fuel Duty by 5p per litre.
  • Freeze the Carbon Price Floor at 2014 levels.
  • Cut Stamp Duty Land Tax using at least one of the three options proposed in our paper Stamp Duty – a counterproductive tax.

Reform

  • Extend the use of dynamic modelling used in last year’s Autumn Statement to all fiscal policy announcements. Dynamic analysis using the HMRC CGE model should be required for all fiscal policy changes announced by the Government.
  • Rename National Insurance to properly reflect its true function as a parallel system of income tax on employment earnings.
  • Set about departmental reform by abolishing the Department for Culture, Media and Sport along with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, transferring some responsibilities such as museums, universities and training to other departments.

Speaking in Advance of the Budget, Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said:

“The Chancellor is in the last chance saloon when it comes to helping taxpayers before the next election. If he wants to ease the burden on family finances and secure economic growth then he has to cut waste and cut taxes in this Budget. Promises of help after 2015 will not be enough – he must take this opportunity now to deliver a Budget for taxpayers.” 

The morning after the Budget, the TaxPayers’ Alliance and the Institute of Economic Affairs will bring together a cross-party panel of experts to assess its political and economic implications. Click here for more details

Top Bath restaurateurs support campaign to cut tax on wine and spirits
Mar 2014 12

Leading Bath restaurateur, Charlie Digney, proprietor of award-winning local restaurants the King William, the Garrick’s Head and Oakhill Inn, joined Bath popular bar owner Fari Nejad of Opium to support our national campaign calling for the duty on wine and spirits to be cut. Continue Reading

Exeter students join Cut Wine Tax campaign
Mar 2014 11

Exeter University students joined our campaign to Call Time on Duty at John Gandy’s wine bar off the cobble streets of central Exeter. With glasses of wine in their hands, they called on the Chancellor George Osborne to axe further rises in duty on wine and spirits in this country—and bring it in line with more reasonable rates of alcohol tax in Europe. Continue Reading

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