With Cardiff City getting promoted into top flight football this week, some could be excused for missing another damning blow for the Welsh Government in its attempt to save ailing Cardiff International Airport. Figures released by the Civil Aviation Authority show a decline of 15% in passenger numbers last year, taking the total number of passengers using the airport to under 1 million (994,885).
The airport, which was purchased by the Welsh Government at a cost of £52 million to Welsh taxpayers, has been labelled as being vital to the Welsh economy. However Tuesday was the first time Assembly Members had met since its purchase last month, with those in opposition expressing dismay at the little to no progress thus far made on the venture. Continue Reading
New research by consultants KPMG for tobacco company Philip Morris International has claimed that the UK has the EU’s fastest growing black market, which now accounts for one in six cigarettes sold.
These figures follow research published last year by the TaxPayers’ Alliance which revealed that the tax loss from illicit alcohol, tobacco and fuel totalled £28.5 billion.
It’s increasingly clear that the UK’s high lifestyle taxes have become ineffective at both raising revenue and controlling consumption. Governments can only go so far in hiking taxes before people start to ignore them and enter the black market instead.
Usually seen as a profitable money-spinner, council parking fines are not such good news for Devon’s district councils. A recent report reveals it is costing them much more money to collect than the fines are generating—nearly £800,000—and that’s all taxpayers’ money being wasted.
Devon County Councillors are due to debate the report that shows how their decision to take over parking enforcement duties from the police was a failure from its beginning in 2008. Although its on-street parking fines are making a profit, it is their collecting of Penalty Charge Notices that has made a loss for the last five years, culminating in the £800,000 in 2011/2012. Each district council operates its own team of traffic wardens and it was suggested savings could be made if the operation was centralised. Continue Reading
It has been finally announced that a failing £36m back-to-work scheme is to be wound up. The under-performing ‘Genesis Cymru Wales 2’ which was launched at the beginning of the financial crisis was supposed to help 20,000 individuals get back into work or gain the qualifications needed.
The programme run by local councils and funded by the EU was supposed to help those who had difficulty finding work, but as the BBC highlighted in February, only around half of the initial target of 20,000 participated in the scheme, and only 789 people found jobs where they were working for at least sixteen hours a week. Continue Reading
Last Sunday on BBC One’s The Big Questions, TaxPayers’ Alliance research director John O’Connell faced plenty of wishful thinking from other participants on the programme, not least from author and polemicist Owen Jones:
The real problem we’ve got is lack of demand in the economy. People aren’t spending money because demand has been sucked out. We’re now in the longest economic crisis not since the 80s, not since the 70s, not even since the Great Depression in the 1930s. We’re now in most protracted economic crisis in modern history in Britain.
This is why I think this is a false debate: because the reality is that we all want to bring down welfare spending but the reason it’s so high at the moment is that we’re spending billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on housing benefit which has lined the pockets of wealthy landlords charging extortionate rent because they know you and I the taxpayer will step in.
Instead we should be building council housing which will create jobs, stimulate the economy and bring down housing benefit.
Another example, tax credits. They’re a lifeline for millions of people in this country but they are a subsidy for low pay because bosses aren’t paying their workers properly. So if we had a living wage we’d bring down spending on tax credits and also on housing benefits because 93% of new claimants are in work. Continue Reading