Stealth tax for Bath market traders
May 2013 07

Despite recently published grand plans for spending millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on refurbishing Bath’s historic Guildhall market, Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES) Council might like to consider giving the hard-working traders in the market a break when it comes to charging them for council services.

A Bath supporter of the TPA reveals to me the hidden costs of making changes to a stall in the market. B&NES demand that any such alterations must involved a Listed Building Application—and that’s just for a stall! ‘Listed Building Applications are supposed to be free,’ says the local businessman. ‘The problem is you have to pay for Pre-Application advice first.’ Continue Reading

Justice for Brid – the campaign continues
May 2013 07

Around 75 people attended the “Justice for Brid” protest last Saturday. The protest was reported by local media, and this story from the Hull Daily Mail contains video footage of the event.

As we have already said, this is just the beginning of the campaign, and we will be meeting shortly with all those interested in moving the campaign forward.

What is clear from those who attended the protest is they are angry and want answers. If ERYC think they can brush this under the carpet, and that the protesters will go away, they are in for a rude awakening.

If you live in the area and would like to take an active part in the campaign, please drop me a line.


Our Dos and Don’ts for the Queen’s Speech
May 2013 07

At the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday, new laws will be proposed for the coming parliamentary year.  Many of the laws reported to be under consideration will have important consequences for taxpayers.

The Government needs to choose. It can either ensure that taxpayers get better value and greater accountability from how their money is spent, or it can enshrine new wasteful spending and onerous regulations in law. We will be following the speech closely and making the case for taxpayer value to be the first priority.

Cutting spending
·  DO: Drop the plan to enshrine the 0.7 per cent aid spending target in law
·  DON’T: Introduce a paving bill for High Speed Rail 2
Reforming taxes
·  DO: Introduce a tax reform bill to abolish National Insurance
·  DON’T: Pile new taxes on already overtaxed homeowners
Protecting taxpayers
·  DO: Give voters the right to recall MPs who have let them down
·  DON’T: Introduce minimum unit pricing for alcohol or plain packaging for tobacco

Cutting spending

DO: Drop the plan to enshrine the 0.7 per cent aid spending target in law
The Government should not set an arbitrary target to spend a certain amount on foreign aid that ignores the changing needs of recipients; whether the money can be spent efficiently and controlled properly; the private generosity of taxpayers giving their own money; and the economic situation in Britain. Our 2009 paper Lost along the way: The cost of the UK’s international development programme showed how DfID was already spending large amounts on programmes where much of the money would not reach frontline projects.

DON’T: Introduce a paving bill for a new high speed rail line
Proposals for a new high speed rail line would mean spending well over a thousand pounds for every family in Britain and do not represent value for money. Many towns would see a worse service under the current plans and the economic case is based on flawed assumptions. Realising ministers’ promises for the effects of the line will create further significant costs for taxpayers. Three key TaxPayers’ Alliance research projects that have studied the likely effects of going ahead with the proposed new line:  High Speed RailHS2 Capacity Analysis and The hidden costs of HS2.

Reforming taxes

DO: Introduce a tax reform bill to abolish National Insurance
The Single Income Tax, the final report of the 2020 Tax Commission convened by the TPA with support from the Institute of Directors, called for strategic reforms to create a much simpler, fairer and more competitive tax system. An early step that would ease the administrative burden on employers and make the tax system more transparent and honest would be to abolish National Insurance and merge it with Income Tax. Our recent paper How to abolish National Insurance shows how that can be done.

DON’T: Make home ownership less attractive with new taxes and ever higher stamp duty
The Government must resist calls for new taxes on property. Property taxes are already twice as high – as a share of GDP – in the UK as they are on average in other OECD countries (see page 12 of our Fiscal Factbook). Stamp Duty creates particular problems for first time buyers and growing families (for more detail, see The Single Income Tax, Section 6.2.3).


Matthew SinclairChief Executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said:

The Government should use the Queen’s Speech as an opportunity to ease the burden on taxpayers struggling to balance their own budgets. To do that, ministers must resist the temptation to introduce eye-catching bills which more often than not involve commitments to spend other people’s money or introduce cumbersome new regulations. Instead they should seize important opportunities to put in place simpler, fairer and more competitive taxes and make sure the politicians spending the money are accountable to the people who pick up the bill.”

Welsh Government gets involved with… Scottish Independence?
May 2013 03

The question of Scottish Independence is a burning issue both in Holyrood and Westminster, but the Welsh Government in Cardiff Bay has now managed to scuff together enough half-baked arguments to include itself in the discussion.  This, of course, is regarding the debate over borrowing and tax raising powers.

In 2011, a referendum was held so that the Welsh people could decide if they wanted law making powers to be made available to their representatives.All four political parties approved of this move, but now the same political parties are also calling for the findings of Paul Silk (The Silk Commission) to be fully implemented.  The Silk Commission argued that with further devolution should come limited powers to raise tax and borrows. For those of us living in Wales this means a travesty is on the horizon. Continue Reading

Campaigning in Bridlington
May 2013 03

One of the great pleasures of grassroots campaigning is meeting new people. On Wednesday, after some radio interviews promoting our “Justice for Brid” protest on Saturday, I drove to Bridlington to meet local traders who are being directly affected by council blunders.

In a recent post I highlighted the social cost of the failed regeneration scheme. After spending an afternoon with supporters, visiting numerous shops, the message came though loud and clear that local people are sick and tired of not being listened to by an arrogant council that thinks it knows better. Continue Reading

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