For the last year, Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES) Council have repeatedly refused to answer my Freedom of Information (FoI) requests about an alleged matter of wrongdoing by a senior local government officer involving taxpayers’ money. I am now in the process of appealing against their stonewalling. My experience may well be of interest to other TPA supporters encountering similar difficulties and reveals the limits of FoI requests.
There is a phantom national museum in southwest England that is supported with taxpayers’ money – and yet taxpayers can only visit by appointment! What is going on?
“The Science Museum gets a lot of taxpayers’ money each year,” says a local TPA supporter, “and part of it goes to maintain an entire airfield and museum at Wroughton, Wiltshire, which no taxpayer has been allowed to see for several years.” Continue Reading
New research by the TPA can reveal that trade unions received at least £108 million in subsidies from taxpayers in 2012-13, just £5 million less than in 2011-12. Our comprehensive survey shows shows that trade unions received an estimated £85 million in paid staff time (facility time) plus £23 million in direct payments in 2012-13. The research also demonstrates that public bodies are often deducting trade union subscriptions in the payroll process without charging the unions for that additional administrative support, despite union claims to the contrary.
The Cabinet Office has made strides to eliminate facility time, but far more must be done. This report demonstrates why these reforms must go further to include all of the public sector rather than just Whitehall and its quangos. In 2012, the TPA published a legal briefing that made it clear that public sector bodies are failing to control facility time as envisaged by employment law. This latest report reveals that hundreds of public sector bodies are still failing even to record the extent of facility time.
Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:
It is simply wrong that taxpayers continue to see their money used to pay thousands of trade union activists who organise strikes which disrupt the services that they rely on and pay for handsomely. Thousands of staff who should be working for the taxpayer are working for the trade unions instead. It’s welcome that the number has fallen, but far more must be done.
Tens of millions of pounds are being wasted and supporting aggressive political campaigns. The Government must crack down on this scandalous subsidy.
A report by the Public Accounts Committee released today has accused the Government of botching the restructuring of the Army.
The “Army 2020” programme plans to integrate a regular Army of 82,500 with a larger and more frequently used Army Reserve (formerly known as the Territorial Army) of 30,000. Pre-2010 there were 102,000 regulars and 19,000 reservists.
The Government stands accused of failing to adequately consult the Army before embarking on the restructuring and risking capabilities by missing recruitment targets. Continue Reading
Dominic Raab, the Conservative MP for Esher & Walton, quoted TaxPayers’ Alliance research in his piece on the “rapacious impact” of Stamp Duty in the Daily Telegraph today.
Without reform, these trends will continue. The TaxPayers’ Alliance estimates that 80 per cent of home buyers will pay stamp duty by 2017/2018, while almost a third paying the 1 per cent rate in 2012/13 would be dragged into the 3 per cent rate.
Mr. Raab is quoting from our research which demonstrated how Stamp Duty, a tax designed for only the very wealthy, is now hitting ordinary families hard. Stamp Duty stops families moving up the ladder, prevents young people from buying their first home and discourages elder people from downsizing. Continue Reading