IPSA slammed as “not fit for purpose” as it recommends pay hike for MPs
Dec 2013 12

Jonathan Isaby of the TaxPayers’ Alliance issued the following response to today’s announcement by IPSA on MPs’ pay:

In recommending this pay hike at a time when wages are stagnating for millions across the country, IPSA has demonstrated itself to be not fit for purpose. This unaccountable bureaucratic monster of a quango, which was supposed to help restore public faith in Parliament after the 2009 MPs’ expenses scandal, has in fact just succeeded in turning the clock back four years.

He also commented on the revelation that IPSA spent more than £70,000 on opinion research seeking the public’s view on MPs’ pay, only to completely disregard it (see notes to editors for details):

It beggars belief that IPSA felt it an appropriate use of taxpayers’ money to run up a bill in excess of £70,000 on opinion surveys, citizens’ juries and focus groups. But it is beyond contempt that IPSA completely ignored the very research which showed the public to think that MPs’ pay is currently ‘broadly fair’. The body which ought to be representing the interests of voters and taxpayers has unceremoniously put two fingers up at the lot of us.

The IPSA website reveals two payments to COMRES for “Consultation MP Pay & Pension” of £33,273 and £37,593 on 10/05/2012 and 29/06/2012 respectively. See the spreadsheet “Expenditure over £25,000 – 2013 (updated to November” at http://lowtax.es/1bGvIJ0)

Swansea action day this Friday
Dec 2013 11

Swansea Council, along with some other councils in Wales, has proposed yet further cut backs to local bin collections. As I mentioned last week, the council proposes to limit the amount of refuse one household can have collected to only three black bags once a fortnight .

Households should be helped to recycle more but that does not justify the move. It is vital that we protect essential front-line services that taxpayers pay a fortune for through their Council Tax bill.

That’s why we’re holding an Action Day this Friday, 13 December, and will ask local people to sign our petition.  You will find us on Oxford Street, Swansea, from 9.00 am until lunchtime. Please come and show your support against this outrageous policy.

 

Jonathan Isaby appointed Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance
Dec 2013 10

At the end of a year during which we have achieved national and international recognition, we can today announce that Jonathan Isaby is to take up the role of Chief Executive. His promotion is one of a raft of appointments being made as we  prepare to mark our tenth anniversary in 2014.

Jonathan joined the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) in August 2011 as Political Director and during the last two and a half years has ensured that the voice of the taxpayer has reverberated around the corridors of power in Westminster and Whitehall louder than ever before. Having made regular briefings for parliamentarians a staple of the TPA’s work, and drawing upon more than a decade in journalism, he has ramped up the TPA’s influence and reach among decision makers and opinion formers. He will take up the post of Chief Executive on 1 January 2014.

Jonathan is taking the reins from Matt Sinclair, who rose through the ranks of the TaxPayers’ Alliance over six and a half years, serving as the Chief Executive since the summer of 2012. Matt is leaving to join Europe Economics as Senior Consultant. During his time at the TPA, Matt particularly made his mark on policy debates surrounding spending and green taxes with his books How to Cut Public Spending (and still win an election) and Let Them Eat Carbon. As Chief Executive, he oversaw many successful campaigns, particularly the award-winning MashBeerTax campaign, and built a vibrant grassroots structure with TPA Action Days taking place around the country every week of the year.

Joining Jonathan as part of the core TPA leadership team will be John O’Connell in the role of Director. John arrived at the TPA in February 2009 as an intern and worked his way up to become Research Director, overseeing the wide range of reports and original research produced each year. As Director, he will now be overseeing the research, media and grassroots teams.

Robert Oxley remains in post as Campaign Director. He will continue to liaise with the print and broadcast media and will now oversee the TPA’s online and digital campaigns. Rory Meakin, who is currently Head of Tax Policy, will take up the post of Research Director vacated by John O’Connell.

The other appointment being announced today is that Dia Chakravarty will join the TPA in January 2014 as Political Director. For the last 16 months Dia has been Deputy Director of the Freedom Association, articulately making the case for free enterprise and individual freedom. Dia started her career in the City before moving into communications and public affairs. Born in Bangladesh, Dia read Law at the University of Oxford.

Matthew Elliott, Founder of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“Matt Sinclair has had a terrific stint at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, being one of the many team members who has risen up through the ranks to take up key leadership positions. His six and a half years on the campaign have been a great success and we all wish him well in his new job. We see the appointment of Jonathan Isaby as Political Director three years ago as being one of our best hires, and he’s done a great job reaching out to parliamentarians and growing our profile across Westminster. We’re therefore delighted that Jonathan and John O’Connell are stepping up to manage the campaign. As a team, reinforced by the new appointments, they are the best in the business for the policy battles running up to 2015.”

Andrew Allum, Chairman of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, who co-founded the campaign group with Matthew Elliott in 2004, said:

“It is always sad when members of staff leave the team, particularly after so many years of first class service, but we are delighted that the TaxPayers’ Alliance has been adept at spotting new talent and giving people the skills to perform at the highest levels in British politics. Matt Sinclair has done an excellent job in all of his positions at the TPA, but I’m pleased that Matthew Elliott and I have been able to appoint a first class team to see us through the important period running up to the General Election.”

Jonathan Isaby said on his appointment as Chief Executive:

“It is a great privilege to be taking on the role of Chief Executive of an organisation of which I have been a strong supporter ever since its founding in 2004. Over the past ten years, the TaxPayers’ Alliance has played a vital role in framing policy debates and educating people about taxation, public spending and government waste.

“Our supporters across the UK can rest assured that on my watch the TPA will stay true to its core mission of seeking a better deal for taxpayers from all those in power who are spending our hard-earned money. I will certainly never tire of reminding people that there’s no such thing as government money, only taxpayers’ money – and that we have every right to be angry when it is wasted or squandered. We will also continue to campaign for more money to be left in taxpayers’ pockets in the first place.

“I am hugely looking forward to working with Andrew Allum, Matthew Elliott, John O’Connell and the rest of our dedicated team on the new challenges which lie ahead in our tenth anniversary year as the battle lines are drawn for the issues on which the General Election will be fought.”

Matt Sinclair, outgoing Chief Executive, said:

“The TaxPayers’ Alliance is the most influential campaign group in Britain thanks to a brilliant campaign team, committed activists and loyal supporters up and down the country. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to work with them. I am very optimistic about the future for the TPA with such a strong team in place. They are all committed to the hard work and creative campaigning that has always been the hallmark of the TPA. Jonathan Isaby is exactly the right man to lead the TPA forward to new victories.

“Now I am looking forward to joining the incredibly talented team at Europe Economics and excited for the fresh challenges that my new role there will bring, working for a leading economic consultancy able to call on such a depth of expertise.”

Buckinghamshire County Council will increase Council Tax by two per cent
Dec 2013 09

Buckinghamshire County Council’s cabinet has just recommended just under two per cent increase in Council Tax next year.

I reported a couple of months ago that the council was undertaking a consultation giving residents the option of a two per cent increase, a four per cent increase, or a five per cent increase, but not a freeze. Just under half of those who responded favoured four or five per cent as the council said any additional cash raised above two per cent would be ring fenced and spend on the county’s roads. Without a clear mandate, cabinet members did not feel they could proceed with a referendum, which they say would have cost £300,000.  Continue Reading

Proposed MP pay hike is unacceptable and must be rejected
Dec 2013 09

Reacting to reports that IPSA are to propose an 11 per cent pay increase for MPs, Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“It is totally unacceptable to hike politicians pay just as families across the UK struggle with stagnant wages and rising prices.

Taxpayers will be furious that the pay rise comes at a time when MPs urge public pay restraint and the Chancellor tells us he can’t afford to ease the burden of taxes on hard-pressed households and businesses.

IPSA’s own polling and research shows that the current level of pay to be broadly fair and that the public simply do not back the increase. This
announcement amounts to an unaccountable quango putting up two fingers to taxpayers. The rise must be rejected.”

At the TaxPayers’ Alliance, we strongly oppose the big increase in MPs’ pay proposed by the “IPSA” quango. We have set up a petition which you can sign below to support action to scrap the proposed pay hike and ensure that there is proper accountability for future decisions over MPs’ pay. We will send the petition to MPs and IPSA, as part of our response to their consultation.

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