Students flocked to our Essex Taxpayers’ Alliance action day at the University of Essex near Colchester to support our Cut Cider Tax campaign. A petition to axe the Cider Tax escalator, which increases the duty on cider by 2% above inflation every year, attracted 120 signatures on the day. Continue Reading
Our founder, Matthew Elliott, was interviewed by the Sunday Telegraph in the run-up to our 10th anniversary. Here’s a sneak peak:
“We are not in any way anarchists here,” insists Matthew Elliott, founder of the TaxPayers’ Alliance and one of Westminster’s most feared campaigners, before delivering an apocalyptic prediction.
“We recognise there is a role for the state but when government is spending more than half the nation’s wealth, the economy can’t survive over the longer term.”
His argument is that people will simply stop working if they see half of their salaries disappear in tax.
This, in a nutshell, is the case against high taxes and the reason why 10 years ago Mr Elliott and three friends launched the TaxPayers’ Alliance, arguably the most influential new pressure group of recent political times.
- “They have fought tirelessly for taxpayers across the country” - Rt Hon David Cameron MP, Prime Minister
Today marks our 10th anniversary as we celebrate our part in securing tax cuts worth £37 billion in 2014-15 for hard-pressed taxpayers.
Since our founding in 2004 by Matthew Elliott and Andrew Allum, we have campaigned for lower taxes and an end to government waste. Our research such as the Bumper Book of Government Waste, Town Hall Rich List and Taxpayer funding of Trade Unions have not only made headlines, but changed policy.
With calls for new and higher taxes, and with all levels of government continuing to waste money, the need for a voice to stand up for taxpayers is needed more than ever.
The TPA success story:
But there is still much to do:
What the politicians say about the TPA:
“Over the past ten years the TaxPayers’ Alliance has made an enormously valuable contribution to political debate in Britain. While we may not agree on every proposal put forward, their values are the right ones: a low-tax country with a low-waste Government. From their eye-catching campaigns on the deficit and debt – to their calls for greater transparency in local government – they have fought tirelessly for taxpayers across the country. I look forward to their contributions in the next ten years.”
- Rt Hon David Cameron MP, Prime Minister
“The TaxPayers’ Alliance is to be congratulated on using its media profile in an effective and thought-provoking manner to challenge elected politicians as they seek to balance the need for high quality public services with the taxation demands on individuals and companies.”
- Rt Hon Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury
“The TaxPayers’ Alliance has spent the last decade making life pretty uncomfortable for politicians and mandarins who like spending the public’s money. We owe them a debt of gratitude for that. I’m sure I would disagree with them on some spending priorities, but it’s vital for the health of our democracy that spending plans are subjected to the kind of energetic scrutiny that the TPA provides. Wishing all at the TPA a successful second decade.”
-Tom Harris MP, Labour MP and former minister
“There is no doubt that the debate about public spending in this country has been invigorated by the work of the TaxPayers’ Alliance. What they have done, in a way that few think tanks have done, is to make the level of waste of taxpayers’ money comprehensible to ordinary men and women. They are intellectual street fighters, highlighting waste not just at a Westminster level, but also in our local councils and of course over the Channel in Brussels. An excellent start, but sadly there is much, much more work to do.”
-Nigel Farage MEP, Leader of the UK Independence Party
Since the creation of the TPA, Matthew Elliott has has founded the influential civil liberties group Big Brother Watch, successfully directed the NO to AV campaign and now heads up EU business campaign Business for Britain. The TaxPayers’ Alliance is rated as 22nd in the world for Top Transparency and Good Governance Think Tanks and 15th for Best Advocacy Campaign in the Global Go To Think Tank Index ratings.
Matthew Elliott, Founder of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:
“In 2004 all three party leaders were committed to ever higher levels of public spending at a time when taxes were already far too high. In the last decade Britain has changed and so have our leaders, but the need for a voice for taxpayers is as strong today as it was then. The TPA has chalked up some serious victories for taxpayers during its first decade – but there is still much to be done. As long as bureaucrats are wasting our money the TPA will be there to stand up for those who actually foot the bill for government spending.”
Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:
“The TaxPayers’ Alliance has a remarkable history for an organisation that started out as weekly meeting in a coffee shop just ten years ago. But a decade later spending remains too high and so do taxes. That’s why we need a War on Waste. In the run-up to the 2015 election the TPA will continue our fight to ease the burden on all families, seeking to persuade every party leader to go into the election pledging to cut taxes and cut spending.”
After the publication yesterday of our Bumper Book of Government Waste, I have a piece in The Times today with a couple of helpful suggestions as to how to ensure that waste in the public sector is rooted out.
You can read read the article in full if you are a Times subscriber, but if not, my two key recommendations are as follows.
Firstly, while Francis Maude has done commendable work at the Cabinet Office in saving taxpayers’ money across Whitehall, there ought to be one minister with a roving brief specifically to wage war on waste with their salary entirely performance-related. The same kind of role could also be replicated in local councils too.
Secondly, and crucially, it is vital that the good practices introduced by the current Government in terms of publishing how politicians and bureaucrats spend our money are made as irreversible as possible. As I write in the piece:
What has helped to expose waste in the public sector has been the coalition’s insistence that central and local government publish detailed spending data online. This transparency is vital if we are to hold politicians to account for how they spend our money.
However, the coalition won’t be in power for ever and a future government may not share its commitment to transparency. So, with ministers scrabbling around for items to include in the Queen’s Speech, I have a simple proposal: a short Bill to enshrine in law that all government departments, quangos and local authorities have to continue publishing how they spend our money. That way, any attempt to row back on transparency would require primary legislation, which it would take a very bold politician to introduce.
I don’t propose new laws lightly, but this small measure would make it as difficult as possible for ministers in any future administration to take away from taxpayers the right to see how our money is being spent.
We can today reveal that the Government wasted £120.4 billion in 2012-13, the equivalent of £4,560 per every household in the UK. The astonishing sum is identified in a new edition of the Bumper Book of Government Waste (BBGW) which identifies potential savings in government expenditure.
The research is published to mark the launch of our new War on Waste campaign as we celebrates our tenth anniversary.
The TPA’s first Bumper Book of Government Waste, published when we launched in 2004, identified £50 billion of taxpayers’ money being wasted. This total has increased dramatically due to greater scrutiny, large improvements in government spending transparency and a large increase in overall spending.
Here are just some of the ways politicians wasted our money in 2012-13:
The Cabinet Office has embarked on a major programme of efficiency and reform. This has led to improvements in Whitehall procurement and contracts, but far too much taxpayers’ money is still wasted at local, national and European levels.
Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:
“We need a War on Waste if taxpayers are to secure a better deal from the endless layers of government which are spending their hard-earned money. Politicians and bureaucrats are still squandering our cash while families struggle with punishing levels of taxation. Rooting out that wasteful spending once and for all will mean that more money can be left in the pockets of taxpayers, who are by far the best judges of how their own money should be spent.”