With over 1,400 local business people and residents signing a petition calling on Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES) Council to cut parking charges, the lead petitioners finally got their time before a full council meeting in Bath’s Guildhall — and the result they wanted.
As co-lead petitioner, South West TaxPayers’ Alliance grassroots co-ordinator Tim Newark presented the Independent Shops of Bath petition against the recent rise in parking fees in central Bath. Continue Reading
I explain in City AM this morning why tax reform should be the lesson from the latest avoidance saga:
Take That’s Gary Barlow has again been reported to have participated in complicated tax avoidance schemes. And as ever, discussion on the subject has been clouded by inaccurate reporting. Many have claimed that personal tax avoidance “costs the economy” £5bn a year. This is confused nonsense, based on an HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) estimate of how much personal tax avoidance costs it. Extra money in people’s bank accounts has not left the economy – it’s still there, perhaps being spent more widely.
The War on Waste roadshow made its way into the Midlands today with stopovers in Manchester, Stoke-on Trent, Stafford and finally Birmingham.
On a blustery day outside Manchester Town Hall, City Council employees were appalled to discover that hundreds of their colleagues had been handed iPads costing taxpayers almost £200,000, and that the Council had wasted £16,000 on software to monitor what people were saying about them on Twitter. There are plenty of alternatives available – such as the rather cheaper (i.e., free) option of doing it yourself.
Our presence was less well received by two Council employees, the first of whom tried to tell us we needed the permission before setting up “infrastructure” (a plywood table with tablecloth and 2 flags) outside the Town Hall. She eventually conceded that there was no such requirement but said she would need to report the incident to a town hall bureaucrat.
The second employee, apparently a Unison member, was initially a little agitated with our stall, but was delighted to hear that we are strongly against using taxpayers’ money to subsidise theatre and opera. Wasting money in this fashion isn’t a left vs right issue – it’s just common sense.
Then on to Stoke, where residents were horrified to learn that overweight people in the area had been receiving motivational text messages from the Council advising them to “use the stairs” and to “try to eat smaller portions”. This patronising farce cost taxpayers £10,000.
After a brief stop in Stafford, the roadshow rolled on to Birmingham where as we speak TPA staff and volunteers are telling people about the £319,000 Birmingham City Council has used for jet-setting trips to the likes of China, Jamaica, Brazil and Bahrain.
Tomorrow we head to a true shrine of wasteful spending -The Public in West Bromwich – before heading to Chipping Norton to remind the Prime Minister that he desperately needs to wage a War on Waste across the country.
Paying more and more for less and less seems the mantra now for some local council services. South Gloucestershire MP Chris Skidmore took his campaign against a new ‘stealth tax’ launched by his local council to the Houses of Parliament. He spoke in the House of Commons against recent green refuse bin charges. Continue Reading