Assessing MoD manpower
Sep 2014 05

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

Our Research Informs the Stamp Duty Debate
Sep 2014 04

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

Announcing ThinkTent 2014 at Conservative Party Conference
Sep 2014 03

We’re delighted to announce that together with the Institute of Economic Affairs, Business for Britain, and the Free Enterprise Group of Conservative MPs, the TaxPayers’ Alliance will be hosting ThinkTent 2014 at this year’s Conservative Party Conference, kindly supported by Mastercard.

The ThinkTent will be a place for open and honest debate about some of the biggest issues Britain will face in the run up to the election, and on into the next decade. From Europe to the tax code, the “cost of living crisis” to financial regulation, we will leave no stone unturned. We’ll be joined by a host of Cabinet Ministers, MPs, as well as key commentators and thinkers. We are sure that each event will be fascinating.

You can view the full programme of events here. For those of you attending Conservative Party Conference, we’d be delighted to see you; for those who can’t make it, we’ll be live-tweeting our events on our twitter feed as well as blogging on this page throughout Conference.

“White Elephant” Scheme Comes Under Fire in Bristol
Aug 2014 28

Bristol residents are angry at a £200m “white elephant” bus scheme that won narrow approval at a council meeting. Residents gathered from the north of the city to protest outside Bristol City Hall holding white elephant placards to protest at the huge, largely unwanted expenditure of taxpayers’ money. The scheme, which involves building a bridge cutting into much-loved Stoke Park, is profoundly unpopular locally.

“We have got to take this city into the 21st century,” said a local transport campaigner at a packed Council meeting. But during the decision-making session, protestors felt the real reason for Bristol City Council wanting to proceed with the expensive project was revealed. If they didn’t approve the application, the route would lose its allocation of Government – taxpayer – funding. The protesters believe this is frequently used as an excuse for bouncing councillors into making unpopular decisions because they just can’t resist any opportunity to spend lots of our money. Continue Reading

“Unusual” decisions at Salford Council under the spotlight
Aug 2014 27

This morning saw Salford Council’s Audit Committee meet to discuss the findings of an internal report into the exact circumstances of a £164,000 taxpayer-funded “bailout” paid to the local rugby league club, Salford Red Devils, in 2013.

Journalists at the Manchester Evening News as well as other local writers have covered this story with aplomb. In particular, they have revealed that the council official – Martin Vickers – who signed off the bailout very soon left after the decision, taking up a position months later at the very same Salford Red Devils rugby club.

It appears from newspaper reports that not only was the bailout agreed without proper record-keeping, but that it was agreed by Mr. Vickers, the Mayor Ian Stewart and his deputy David Lancaster without the knowledge of Council Chief Executive Barbara Spicer, against Council procedure.

Even more remarkably, reports go on to say that Mr. Vickers soon after requested voluntary redundancy and, again without the Chief Executive’s knowledge, three days later a £79,000 “golden goodbye” was paid. This package, stunningly, included a Volkswagen Golf and an iPad.

Continue Reading

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