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The costs of the EU

The Bruges Group has published a report exposing how the EU takes £1,000 from every British man, woman and child a year.  UK Independence Party MEP Gerard Batten, who authors the report, unravels the damaging costs the EU is imposing on British business and taxpayers. This report highlights how over-regulation... Read more...

The Case Against Further Green Taxes - Report and Poll

GOVERNMENT RAISING £10 BILLION MORE FROM GREEN TAXES THAN REQUIRED TO COVER COST OF UK’S CARBON FOOTPRINT EVERY UK HOUSEHOLD ALREADY OVER-PAYING GREEN TAXES TO THE TUNE OF MORE THAN £400 A YEAR NEW POLL SHOWS BIG MAJORITY BELIEVE POLITICIANS ARE USING GREEN TAXES AS A REVENUE RAISING MEASURE FIRST... Read more...

Spending Without Result

Education, education, education.And as everyone should have understood, that was going to cost money, money, money.Since Labour came to power, spending on Britain's state schools has more than doubled. Last year they spent £44.7bn, up from £22.2bn in 1996-97 (see here and prior PESAs). Even adjusting for general inflation, the... Read more...

Government manslaughter

The Express today (not online) reports that the Government has been accused of corporate manslaughter over its failure to provide the armed forces with properly armoured vehicles for patrolling in Afghanistan.  The number of deaths through negligence in the public sector is truly staggering, our high hospital infection rates alone... Read more...

Three Rs sink to 7-year low

National test results have revealed that standards of reading, writing and maths among seven-year-olds have fallen to their 2000 level, despite huge state spending on early education schemes, the Mail reports: "Almost half of boys - nearly 140,000 - will start the next phase of primary school next week without... Read more...

Another Bonus Farce

No wonder he's laughing As regular BOM readers will know, the Learning and Skills Council is a complete and utter waste of money.It presides over the nationalised "skills industry", an underperforming quagmire of 500 separate organisations and bureaucracies which costs us over £10bn pa (see previous blogs here - including... Read more...

Council chief gets £170k whilst pensioners lose hot dinners

Worcestershire County Council seems a little confused over what constitutes value for money in recent months. The council have reportedly recruited an extra 1200 staff since 2000 and now have more council workers than when they were a joint county with Hereford. What is more they are now looking into... Read more...

Campaign Diary 30th August 2007

Today has been a day of branch building, making calls to activists and sending letters to supporters.  If you’re on our list in Guildford, Godalming, St. Albans, Potters Bar and Hatfield, then expect a letter, email or call from me sometime soon attempting to enlist you to the frontline battle... Read more...

Politics Of Envy Meets Winter Of Discontent

How come he's got such a big lyre? It's not fair The media has been crammed with politics of envy stories this week.Those egregious investment bankers, private equity gangsters, and hedge fund cowboys in the City have apparently helped themselves to £14bn! Just like that. Even though everyone knows they... Read more...

The Conservative strategy on the NHS

Louise Bagshawe, a Conservative candidate, argues on ConservativeHome in favour of the current Conservative strategy on the NHS.  Essentially, she argues that the "Stop Brown's NHS Cuts" campaign has been a political success and is highlighting an important issue. The problem is that, whatever the short-term results of the "Stop... Read more...

Lower city bonuses mean lower tax revenues

The Telegraph reports today: "Alistair Darling could face a multi-billion pound tax shortfall in the coming year as the City's market misery takes its toll on bonuses and bank profits."The Treasury could miss out on as much as £2bn in tax revenues if the coming round of City bonuses disappoints,... Read more...

Corporation Tax Too Complex For HMRC

The long view- lower tax rates have not cut revenue Yesterday's FT story on Corporation Tax got a deal of coverage. As you will recall, it said that one-third of Britain's 700 biggest companies pay no CT.On the face of it, that's surprising because almost all of those companies will... Read more...

Shropshire road pricing coalition

West Midlands TaxPayers’ Alliance supporter and author of the 1.8 million signature Downing Street website petition against road pricing, Peter Roberts, has become involved as secretary of a new coalition to campaign against proposals for congestion charging in Shrewsbury town centre (Birmingham Post). Led by Daniel Kawczynski MP, the local... Read more...

Non-job of the week

This week’s non-job is rather sobering.  Given the anarchy sweeping the UK, with gangs attacking children and other innocents, the political classes recognise the crisis on our streets.  Calls for more police are one thing.  People recognise that police on the beat cut crime.  A police presence makes our most... Read more...

Direct evidence that science exams are being made easier

The Times has uncovered clear evidence that exams are not just becoming easier but that there is a conscious effort going on to make them easier: "Examiners will have to set easier questions in some GCSE science papers, undernew rules seen by The Times. A document prepared by the Joint... Read more...

Locals say 'no' to Supplementary Business Rates

The Birmingham Post reports today that business leaders and one leading Birmingham councillor have vocally rejected proposals to give councils the power to raise ‘top up’ rates on local firms. Councillor Tilsley was sceptical of these Supplementary Business Rates (SBRs), saying that the council does not want Birmingham to be... Read more...

Privatisation of school management is effective

The Financial Times covers a new report from the CBI, which argues that the private sector has proved itself to be a powerful stimulus for raising standards in schools: "The government forced nine underperforming local authorities to outsource the management of their schools five years ago. The CBI says their... Read more...

One-third of biggest businesses pay no tax

An interesting report in the Financial Times today reveals that almost a third of the UK's 700 biggest businesses paid no corporation tax in the 2005-06 financial year, while another 30 per cent paid less than £10 million each. Overall, the National Audit Office report found that the 700 companies... Read more...

The Taxman's trips abroad

The Daily Mail this morning reveals how tax inspectors are travelling round the world, notching up some 200,000 miles, to investigate new ways to “raise bills at home”. Staff from the Valuation Office Agency mocked taxpayers over dinner, stayed in five-star-hotels and even cashed in on a ‘free’ trip to... Read more...

Early Learning Programme Flops

Nursery education is meant to be one of the most cost effective ways of raising overall attainment. Head start, flying start, whatever snappy name the lobbyists and politicos hang on it, it's money well spent.So you can understand why Labour has pumped money in, launching a raft of programmes and... Read more...

US deficit to fall yet again

The Financial Times today reports that the US budget deficit will shrink to $158 billion in fiscal year 2007, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. This latest forecast is down from its March estimate of a $177 billion deficit and significantly lower than a $205 billion estimate issued by... Read more...

UK worst in western Europe for stroke treatment

Fresh from a report showing how cancer survival rates in Britain compare poorly with other European countries, a new report in the British Medical Journal covered in the media today warns that the UK has the worst outcome for strokes in western Europe despite spending the same amount or more... Read more...

Subsidized theatre visits

Birmingham City Council are running an exclusive scheme named “Northfield Nights” that claims to subsidize theatre ticket prices at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre for residents in the south of the city, meaning that they can enjoy productions from as low as £2 entrance (Bromsgrove Standard, 23rd August). The finer detail... Read more...

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