Bath University has a Prize Fellow vacancy to look at ‘Corporations and public health: exploring the impacts of corporations on non-communicable diseases and public health policies’. Here’s part of the advert:
Arguably the greatest challenge for public health lies in reducing the contributions of tobacco use, unhealthy diet and harmful alcohol consumption to the rising global burden of non-communicable diseases. Tobacco, alcohol and food related diseases are essentially industrial epidemics.
We have today announced October’s recipients of our monthly awards to celebrate those in positions of power who have done the right – and wrong – thing by the taxpayer.
The man, woman or organisation to be congratulated for saving public money or acting in the interests of the hard-pressed taxpayer is named the TPA’s “Pin-Up of the Month”, whilst whoever is found to have shown the greatest disregard for taxpayers’ cash or their interests is shamed as the TPA’s “Pinhead of the Month”.
October 2012’s Pin-Up of the Month is Lord Hollick, the Labour peer and businessman.
This month he has made a call for the Government to scrap its plans to increase spending on international aid by the Department for International Development (DfID) to the arbitrary figure of 0.7 per cent of national income by the end of the parliament and instead for the basic rate of income tax to be cut. He told the House of Lords on October 22nd:
“I remain unconvinced that a further substantial increase in funding to an arbitrary level of gross national income is either desirable or manageable. If such funds are available, I would prefer to see the proposed increase in funding, equivalent to between 1.5p and 2p on the basic rate of taxation, used to reduce the basic rate of tax in the UK to stimulate demand, reduce the burden of recession on the hard-working squeezed middle and stimulate growth.”
His remarks echo the long-held TPA view that the international aid budget ought to be frozen when other departments are having to reduce their budgets, and that tax cuts should be introduced as a way of stimulating growth.
Meanwhile the TPA’s Pinhead of the Month for October is Cllr John Pollard, the cabinet portfolio holder for Localism, Sustainability and Development on Cornwall Council.
“The TaxPayers’ Alliance has always believed that as well as making examples of those who have shown a disregard for public money, it is important to recognise those who are seeking to do the right thing by taxpayers.
“Lord Hollick’s intervention is timely, given the number of questions raised recently about the effectiveness of the existing DfID budget, let alone the additional billions shortly due to be filling its coffers. He makes a very suitable Pin-Up of the Month. Not only is he absolutely right to be questioning the Government’s fixation on hitting this arbitrary spending target, but also to suggest earmarking that additional cash heading to DfID to fund tax cuts instead.
“It is refreshing to hear the argument being made in Parliament for tax cuts to stimulate growth. What’s more, putting that cash into people’s pockets would give them the power to decide how to spend it, and if they want to use it to write a cheque to DfID, then they would be perfectly free to do so.
“Cllr John Pollard, meanwhile, is our Pinhead of the Month for leading the charge to increase Cornish councillors’ allowances at a time when families across the county are feeling the pinch and having to make savings. When was the last time you heard someone complain that their local authority would perform so much better if only the councillors were given a big rise in their allowances?
“The fact is that being a backbench local councillor is not a full-time job and with 123 councillors across Cornwall, the funds are certainly not there to pay them as such. When the council is freezing staff pay and making difficult decisions about how to spend scarce resources, the last thing councillors should be doing is increasing the amount they are taking for themselves.”
Writing for Public Service Europe Alex Wilds argues that the UK isn’t out of the woods yet despite today’s GDP figures.
Economic growth should always be welcomed. Especially so given the constant stream of dire news we have had over the last few years. The 1 per cent growth figure announced today was the strongest result in a single quarter for five years and exceeded the expectations of most analysts. It will doubtless come as a huge relief to the coalition government after last week’s ‘omnishambles’.
These figures should, however, be viewed with caution. The integrity of new growth figures is always somewhat dubious and when the revised figures are released, there will probably be movement in one direction or another. The one-off lift from Olympics has passed and the working days lost during the last quarter to the Jubilee bank holiday need to be factored in to any conclusions one might draw. Add to this the fact that the economy has grown from a low base, the seemingly eternal eurozone crisis and the United States’ approach to the edge of a fiscal cliff, all of a sudden things do not look so rosy.
If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard ‘if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys’ when referring to the pay of senior council officers, I would be much better off than I am now. So I wonder which monkey working for Canterbury City Council devised this little plan?
The council compulsory purchased land to the rear of Cromwell Road, Whitstable, in 1995. It then turned it into what is now known as Bisson’s Car Park. Residents who enter the car park to access the rear of their homes received letters from the council informing them if they wanted to continue doing so they would have to pay for it. Continue Reading
Commenting on today’s announcement that the economy grew by 1.0 per cent in the third quarter of 2012, Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:
“Stronger economic growth than most forecasters expected over the summer is extremely welcome news.
“One quarter of growth doesn’t change the overall picture of a weak and vulnerable recovery. The first estimate for each quarter’s growth should always be taken with a pinch of salt, but the new figures suggest that all those people working hard at companies struggling out of the recession are starting to get results.
“If the Government wants more of this kind of good news then they need to reform our dysfunctional tax system and create the right incentives for people to work, save and invest in Britain.”
The 2020 Tax Commission is a joint project between the TaxPayers’ Alliance and the Institute of Directors. The recommendations of its final report, The Single Income Tax, can be found here.