Cardiff Council’s barmy monthly bin collection plans
Oct 2013 09

If you asked local taxpayers for a list of vital council services they rely on, bin collections would be high on the list, and although many people freely recycle much of their rubbish, there still has to be a basic service provided for non-recyclable waste. In the past few days though, it has been reported in most of the national newspapers that Cardiff Council, in an attempt to meet the Welsh Government’s gold plated recycling targets, has proposed monthly bin and black bag collections.

The proposal could also see householders being charged ‘pay as you throw fees’ where they will pay less the more they recycle, and householders have also been warned they could face fines of £100 if they mix non-recyclables with recyclables. Continue Reading

Questionable expenditure from East Kent?
Oct 2013 08

East Kent is full of examples of questionable expenditure at the moment. Not just government and local government, but other public bodies, not all quite as accountable.

Globe trotting Kent University staff have enjoyed trips to exotic locations such as New Delhi, Shanghai, Las Vegas and Rio De Janeiro. Credit card statements for June obtained by the Kentish Gazette show more than £900 was spent on just the New Delhi Hotel and another £729 in Mumbai; £740 in Beijing and Shanghai, and £280 on Croatia’s coast. Other entries include £639 spent at the Istanbul Hilton, over £1,500 in Washington DC; £762 in Rio De Janeiro, and £668 in Dubai. December last year also saw almost £900 at restaurants and hotels on The Strip in Las Vegas. The university defended use of corporate credit cards in recruiting students from 120 countries after being forced to reveal details when the newspaper submitted a Freedom of Information request. Continue Reading

COMMENT: A Single Income Tax would simplify our excessively convoluted system
Oct 2013 08

Writing in City A.M., Rory Meakin says that the Single Income Tax is the plan for substantial tax simplification that we need:

TAX simplification is back on the agenda, thanks to Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors. Highlighting combined marginal rates of child benefit withdrawal and income tax of 73 per cent for those with four children earning between £50,000 and £60,000 a year, Walker called for radically simpler taxes. “I am all for a flat simple tax system,” he said, adding, “it has been shown to raise a lot more money”.

Click here to read the full article

Institute of Directors is right to call for substantial tax simplification
Oct 2013 07

The Director General of the Institute of Directors, Simon Walker, has spoken out against complicated and high tax rates, citing the 73 per cent marginal combined income tax and child benefit withdrawal rate faced by a taxpayer with four children earning between £50,000 and £60,000. Continue Reading

New research: renewable energy subsidies will double to over £5 billion in next five years
Oct 2013 06

Renewable energy – such as wind – is only competitive thanks to generous Government subsidies. Those subsidies are paid for by consumers through higher household energy bills.We can reveal that, even based on conservative projections, those subsidies will rise from just under £2 billion this year to over £5 billion by 2018/19.

Ministers have claimed that costs will fall over time thanks to greater economies of scale, but the announcement that high subsidies will continue for the foreseeable future suggests that this
strategy has failed, despite the transfer of risk from investors to consumers.

Key findings of this research:

  • Total support for renewable energy through the main subsidy scheme (the Renewables Obligation and Contracts for Difference) will rise from around £1.99 billion in 2012-13 to over £5.32 billion in 2018-19 as more capacity is added to the network.
  • Onshore wind will receive a guaranteed electricity price double the typical wholesale price. Offshore wind will receive triple the typical wholesale price.
  • The Government appears likely to miss a critical target to reduce the cost of renewable energy. The target to reduce the cost of offshore wind to £100 /MWh by 2020 will almost certainly be broken as offshore wind will still receive £135 /MWh in 2018-19, falling from £155 /MWh next year (in 2012 prices).
  • Renewable energy subsidies have failed to deliver reductions in cost. Government policy was supposed to reduce costs by creating economies of scale and driving technological innovation but renewable energy still requires very similar levels of subsidy despite years of subsidy.
  • Despite the level of subsidy, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has warned that “required investment is at risk” unless higher subsidies for offshore wind are provided.

The total subsidy under the Renewables Obligation is projected to rise as follows:


Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“Targets that require massive investment in the energy sector, to install expensive technologies like offshore wind turbines on an enormous scale, will always mean more profits for energy companies and much higher prices for consumers. If the Government are serious about easing the pressure on people’s living standards, they need to take action and scrap lavish renewable energy subsidies. And it is a joke for Ed Miliband to pretend he is taking on the big six on behalf of consumers, when he is proposing to keep the targets in place. If politicians are serious about helping families struggling with their bills, then they need to do something about their dysfunctional and painfully expensive energy policies.”

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