The Daily Telegraph and other news outlets are reporting that Simon Burns, the conservative MP for Chelmsford and Minister for Transport, said that HS2 will bring faster broadband to rural areas. He is quoted as saying,
“HS2 is far more than a new railway line — it is a national infrastructure project that will bring places and people closer together while creating jobs and driving growth. Construction of HS2 gives us the perfect opportunity to explore how we can make it easier for even more people to benefit from ultra-fast broadband — and potentially deliver improvements to the provision of other utility services, including water and electricity.” Continue Reading
The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Humberside, Matthew Grove, unveiled his draft Police and Crime Plan this week. The consultation period lasts for the next six weeks, and Mr Grove would like the public to send him their feedback. So far, so good; although for the public to fully understand his proposals the plan has to be written in plain English. None of the jargon, buzzwords, and gobbledegook we are used to reading. This is where the plan falls at the first hurdle. Here is an extract from section 5.2, explaining Mr Grove’s objectives: Continue Reading
It is fascinating to get a snapshot of what our councils spend taxpayers’ money on. A TPA supporter in Bath recently made a Freedom of Information request to Bath & North East Somerset Council (B&NES) asking to see invoices over £500 for December 2011 categorised under the title ‘Leader’.
At first, the council were vague about what that title meant but then they agreed it meant ‘Leader of the Council’. Then they declared that their invoices had no relation to the leader of the council at all. ‘I do not think that I believe this,’ said our investigator. ‘There are invoices for three new iPads, a new bike, 16k from BUPA, and huge sums for support services.’ Continue Reading
Campaigners for punitive levels of tax often rest their case on the idea that ‘capital flight’, the phenomenon of people moving their money away from high tax areas to low tax areas, doesn’t happen. Taxes might be higher but those taxpayers will benefit from all the extravagant spending that is paid for with that cash, so runs the argument. But capital flight isn’t a ‘myth’ and people do move both themselves and, especially, their money so that they can pay less tax. Continue Reading
Rochdale Council recently announced its intention to increase Council Tax by 3.5%, however using a loophole in the Localism Act, it intends to deny residents a say in a local referendum. Rochdale may not be the only council in Greater Manchester thinking of doing the same.
Employing people in non-jobs is one of the many ways councils keep Council Tax bills high, and some councillors are receiving special responsibility allowances for positions that at best can be described as dubious. I’ll use Tameside as an example. Continue Reading