On Sunday the team at the TaxPayers’ Alliance and Big Brother Watch participated in the DoItForCharity Santa Run in Greenwich Park. We ran in support of Martha Trust Hereford, a charity providing lifelong and respite care for young people with profound intellectual and physical disabilities. Our team at 55 Tufton Street, together with a few friends, raised over £5,000 to help Martha Trust supply its new home with the equipment it needs to provide treatment and care to its residents.
We would like to thank all those who supported us this weekend. And of course, as it was a Santa Run, here’s a photo of our TPA/BBW team all dressed up for the occasion in full Santa attire!
Some Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) are in the news this week, however it’s not for their crime fighting plans. In a report in the Mail on Sunday, 16 out of 41 PCCs have said they will appoint deputies. The legislation does allow for this, however it appears the way the legislation is interpreted varies from one PCC to another.
Adam Simmonds, Northamptonshire’s PCC, is a former senior officer at Northamptonshire County Council. Before the election he said he would be a progressive, considered, and modern thinking commissioner, although there appears to be nothing modern about his decision to appoint four assistant commissioners at £65K a year each. One of his assistants will be his former election agent, Kathryn Buckle. Continue Reading
At our post-Autumn Statement briefing this morning, held in conjunction with the IEA, we asked 10 questions of George Osborne.
We are challenging the Chancellor to explain, amongst other things, why the public sector pay bill has increased when there is supposed to be a pay freeze and the staff headcount has been cut, and why there has been no progress on simplifying National Insurance and Income Tax.
For those unable to attend the briefing session in Westminster this morning, the documents released at the briefing are now all online.
Here is a list of questions that George Osborne now needs to answer:
1. The Office for Tax Simplification was tasked with looking into simplifying National Insurance and Income Tax. Why have their findings not been announced?
2. With public sector employment down 6 per cent, why have pay bills increased by 2 per cent when taxpayers were promised a public sector pay freeze?
3. What impact would minimum alcohol pricing have on inflation and the uprating of benefits bills in the future?
4. Scrapping the planned 3p rise in Fuel Duty was welcome but, with pressure on living standards expected to worsen further in 2013, why will an increase be appropriate next September?
5. Why will bureaucrats distributing the Regional Growth Fund spend an extra £350 million better than the businesses themselves, who could be left with the money by cutting their taxes?
6. Do you accept some responsibility for the public confusion over the difference between the debt and the deficit? Just 6 per cent correctly understand that the Government is increasing the national debt, not cutting it.
7. In 2005 you said: “we may be able to move towards simpler and flatter taxes”. When do you think that could be possible?
8. You have promised greater freedom for individual schools to set pay. When can we expect the same for the NHS and the rest of the public sector?
9. You missed your debt target. Do you think that a target for spending itself would have been more effective, as research by international institutions suggests?
10. Now that flights are included in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme, do you think Britain’s uniquely high Air Passenger Duty is justifiable?
Bristol’s newly elected mayor, George Ferguson, is to be congratulated for emphasising the importance of saving taxpayers’ money. In an election which showed a local distaste for traditional political parties, the independent Ferguson was the runaway winner.
Before the election, a panel of local government bureaucrats had decided that this new mayor should be paid £65,738—the same as an MP—but Ferguson has rejected this, settling on £52,474, the same as the council leader received before this post was abolished.
On top of this he plans to stay in the same office as the former council leader used and promises not to waste taxpayers’ money on employing a large entourage of support staff. Continue Reading
We are going through the details of George Osborne’s latest financial statement now. The deficit is still frighteningly high: £108 billion this year according to the new figures in the Autumn Statement. Tax rates have gone up since the fiscal crisis hit but the resulting revenues have been underwhelming and spending is still much too high. The Government has admitted that they will miss their target to start shrinking the national debt as a share of national income by 2015-16.
There were also some policy announcements. There is some really good news, a great reward for the campaigns you have supported, and sadly some bad news. Which means we still have a lot to do in 2013.
What do you think of the Autumn Statement? Any feedback would really be appreciated as we go through the small print.