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Grumpy taxpayers

A postcard campaign by Bromsgrove District Council that asks local residents whether they are ‘Glad or Grumpy’ with the council’s service has caused a stir and despite costing over £1,500 is having to be reprinted and redistributed to people in the area. Disagreement arose as some Labour councillors took exception... Read more...

Non-job of the week

You can always expect a green, taxpayer-funded non-job in the Guardian Society pages every week.  Over the weeks the proliferation of adverts for "climate change officers" and their lackeys is clear to the eye.  And it's worrying too as we're the ones paying for them.  They mean well, yes, but... Read more...

Cancer Survival Rates

Apparently the United Kingdom has some of the worst rates of cancer survival in Europe, significantly worse than others spending a similar amount.  For ovarian cancer 30% survive in the UK whereas 43% survive in countries like Austria.  This difference has not been overcome by the NHS cancer plan, launched... Read more...

More from Barnet

We make a habit now of filming any of our TPA excursions to give our supporters a better sense of what we do during our grassroots activity.  The first video shows us gathering outside the court house as more supporters arrive.  The horns of passing motorists were already honking their... Read more...

Council Tax Protest in Barnet

A group of determined TPA activists set upon Barnet Magistrates Court to protest against the unfair council tax and to support TPA member Austin Spiteri in his battle with the council over council tax.   Mr Spiteri has been hounded by Barnet council over his daughter’s non-payment of council tax. ... Read more...

More branding waste

The Child Support Agency, now scrapped for being utterly useless, spent £60,000 just on consultants to "research brand development" according to the Express today.  Between that, big bonuses for its staff and £3.5 billion in uncollected fines it's hard to think of a government body that has represented worse value... Read more...

Firms having to teach their workers the three Rs

Despite a chorus of "rising standards" from politicians firms are having to teach teenage workers basic numeracy and literacy.  From the Telegraph: "Half of employers said some teenagers were "unable to function in the workplace" claiming they cannot make simple calculations in theirheads, speak in an articulate manner or understand... Read more...

Police Community Support Officers

Today the Daily Express reports that Police Community Support Officers solve one crime every six years and hand out fines at a rate of one every four months.  The justification provided by the Home Office for their continued existence and, indeed, the expansion of the programme is illuminating: "Their primary... Read more...

Council taxi expenses

Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council were the latest local authorities to be exposed for their extortionate taxi bills in the Coventry Telegraph yesterday. This comes in the wake of Birmingham City Council staff spending a reported £1.17million. Coventry City Council managed to blow £1.5 million, whilst Warwickshire County... Read more...

Private equity taxation to rise?

The Financial Times reports that Alistair Darling is considering raising tax on private equity: "Alistair Darling, the new UK chancellor of the exchequer, is considering an increase from 10 per cent to 20 per cent in the base rate of capital gains tax for investments classed as business assets – such as holdings... Read more...

At last! Action on inheritance tax...

In advance of tomorrow's publication by John Redwood of the Conservative Party's Economic Competitiveness Review, the Daily Mail has been leaked details which strongly suggest that the Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne, will accept the recommendation to radically reform inheritance tax, by excluding the main home from the 40 per cent... Read more...

It’s all about crime

There is usually an increase in coverage of crime and criminal justice matters during the Parliamentary recess when political news dries up in August and non-home affairs reporters take their holidays, and this year has been no different.  But even keen crime-watchers might have got a sense that there seems... Read more...

Is There Anyone Out There Who Doesn't Have 3 As?

Hurrah! A's all round BBC R5 are doing their annual phone-in on the A Level results. And the jock has just asked desperately if someone could phone who hasn't got three A grades- she's just talked to one girl who has five. A quarter of all grades are now A,... Read more...

The Public debate

 The Public arts centre in West Bromwich, the building we chose as a backdrop to the West Midlands TaxPayers’ Alliance launch, continues to inspire debate this week with a feature in today’s Express & Star. Two local figures, Cllr Bill Archer and local artist Fred Barnfield, are called upon to... Read more...

Council Tax Evasion

The amount of uncollected council tax continues to rise each year, reaching well into hundreds of millions of pounds. Research by the GMB union highlights how between the last two financial years the amount of uncollected tax has risen by £19,468,019 to the sum of £760.6 million in 2006/07. Given... Read more...

Hypocrisy at the BBC

There is an internal spat going on at our beloved British Broadcasting Corporation over advertising.  A smug bunch of deputy-assistant tv producers, sound engineers, production assistants and the odd artistic director have teamed up to start a “No Ads Campaign” in opposition to moves by the BBC Board to allow... Read more...

Cost Of Renewable Fantasies

EU renewables plan I've taken a look at the leaked Whitehall paper that spells out for ministers the likely costs to Britain of accepting the EU's fantasy target for renewable energy.It's part of the dismal Blair legacy, the part where he spent his last few months jetting off to Europe... Read more...

Non-job of the week

                                    It’s that time of the week again.  Our weekly trawl through the Guardian Society pages never fails to surprise us with their banal array of jobs on offer.  Our pick this week is from the London NHS. ... Read more...

Kiddy Kevlar - a sign of the times...

It had to happen. A firm in Essex is filling the gap in the market for worried parents of inner-city school kids who face the daily threat of being stabbed to death between lunch in the playground and afternoon geography lessons. As the Sun reports, the company is marketing school... Read more...

Business rates look set to rise to pay for council profligacy

A worrying piece in the Telegraph's business section states:   "Business is facing a series of Government tax raids to pay for the increasing cost of public services.MPs from all parties on the Commons Local Government Committee last week threw their support behind additional business rate taxes that could raise... Read more...

A quarter of pupils 'make no progress from 11 to 14'

The Telegraph reports today that in many subjects one in four pupils makes no progress or falls back between 11 and 14.  This suggests that either secondary school standards are truly dire or primary schools are failing to equip their pupils for the jump to secondary school.  Either way for... Read more...

It's Rochdale...but not as we know it

If anyone needs convincing that Regional Development Agencies are a waste of time, space and money, one should look at the Rochdale Development Agency.  The Times reports this morning that the Rochdale Development Agency has been advertising Rochdale by using pictures of Manchester.   Yes.  They advertised Rochdale by showing... Read more...

Golf tuition for course vandals

Yobs responsible for vandalism and repeated attacks on a Black Country golf course are being treated to free golf tuition according to the Express & Star today. The Brandhall Golf Course in Oldbury is managed by the Sandwell Leisure Trust in partnership with Sandwell Council, and is running this initiative... Read more...

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