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Council fights fashion not crime

Are Peterborough City Council taking the p***?   Forklift driver David Pratt is under investigation by Peterborough City Council for wearing as an ‘offensive’ T-shirt.  He faces a £80 fine if he is caught wearing the T-shirt again.   How much taxpayer’s money is this petty persecution of free expression... Read more...

Conservative plans to cut £14 billion off red tape burden

John Redwood's competitiveness policy group will present its final report on Friday. The report has been widely trailed in the media. A central recommendation is reported to be a £14 billion reduction in red tape on business. This is reported to include:   Repealing working time regulations;Scrapping data protection laws;Reviewing... Read more...

The expensive NHS

It used to be that low NHS standards, still just about the worst in the world according to EU and British Medical Journal studies, were somewhat compensated for by the fact that it was at least relatively cheap.  These days we spend over the OECD average on healthcare while still... Read more...

Weekly Waste Round-Up 71

He's meant to work for us In the news this week:£17,300 to hide MPs expenses from us- "A committee run by the Speaker of the Commons squandered more than £17,000 of taxpayers' money on barristers in an attempt to keep MPs' travel expenses secret. The House of Commons Commission -... Read more...

Defra Disasters

The Surrey foot and mouth outbreak is only the latest in a string of disasters visited on farmers by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs. They also cost taxpayers a fortune. Living very close to the Pirbright labs from which the virus escaped, I've been down to find... Read more...

Wolverhampton's "Green Man"

Despite an inflation busting 4.8% rise in council taxes at the last budget Wolverhampton City Council have still deemed it necessary to recruit a Climate Change Officer to their ranks, complete with a salary of £32,000 per year (Express & Star, 9th August). Environmental awareness is now at the forefront... Read more...

ID card programme launched: another government fisaco in the making

Today's Financial Times reports:"A £2bn procurement programme to build and run the contentious identity card scheme was launched by the government on Thursday.Five suppliers will be chosen to compete for contracts worth up to £500m each, officials said....The contracts would be worth between £50m and £500m, officials said. The two... Read more...

EU tax harmonisation threatens again

An interesting paper has just been written by Damon Lambert, senior tax manager at KPMG, and published by Global Vision, which exposes the truth behind EU tax harmonisation.  The paper shows how the proposed universal tax laws in EU countries are intended to be achieved through government pressures which enforce... Read more...

Council sponsors football team and not services

Our Dagenham and Rainham TPA organiser has sent us information about Dagenham council’s reckless use of public money.   The council is using £90,000 of taxpayers’ money to sponsor their local football team, Dagenham and Rainham FC.  This happens while the council uses its propaganda sheets, such as New Spotlight,... Read more...

Real Business In Brown's Britain - send in your experiences

The excellent Jeff Randall is asking readers who run companies with fewer than 100 staff to write in for a new Telegraph series – Real Business in Brown’s Britain: “The aim is to cut through official hype and discover what it's like trying to make a living as an entrepreneur... Read more...

Dentistry Fiasco Update

Open your wallet very wide please We've blogged the NHS dentist fiasco many times (eg here). And today we hear that the Department of Health's latest convoluted attempt to increase availability has flopped.Their new contract for NHS dentists was supposed to end the piecework "drill and fill" culture, yet at... Read more...

Council offers 'ladder climbing training'

Lancashire county council has stunned its roadside workforce by insisting that all staff that climbs a 4-foot ladder to put up road signs must have ‘ladder training’.  Added to this the council are inviting the fire and rescue services to take time off from their essential duties to instruct people... Read more...

Non-job of the week

Two things stand out in this week’s non-job.  The first is the proliferation of ‘welfare rights’ advisors and other local government apparatchiks who are paid generous amounts to explain to people how to claim benefits.  This raises the question of whether councils are actively pursuing take-up of benefits and that... Read more...

Pass Or Fail?

Qualification A- pass rate 96% Qualification B- pass rate 44% The charts above show the history of pass rates for two qualifications.One is a highly respected, highly prized qualification that opens career doors all over the world.The other isn't.Can you guess which is which?Here are some clues. Qualification B where... Read more...

Council magazine costs £230,000

Staffordshire County Council have once again outdone themselves in terms of profligate spending and managed to blow £230,000 on publishing their glossy magazine named Your Staffordshire (The Sentinel), a self-promoting brochure that includes interviews with Staffordshire celebrities such as Anthea Turner…   A £50 million council funding shortfall makes this... Read more...

Teaching To The Test Update

Further Excellent News! Lord Adonis of the Department for Children, Schools and Families (National) has hailed the latest Key Stage 2 school test results: "Today's primary school children have achieved the best set of Key Stage 2 results we have ever seen, and I congratulate all pupils and teachers for... Read more...

Council Tax Activist wins crucial vote at USDAW conference

Derrick Frost, a newly registered TaxPayers’ Alliance activist from West Sussex and member of USDAW (the Union of shop, distributive and allied workers), has told us how he recently won a crucial vote at the USDAW conference binding the Union to campaign against council tax.   With a massive vote... Read more...

The cost of teachers' pensions soars

The Sun reports this morning that the cost of underwriting Teachers' pensions has risen by a quarter, from £143 to £181 billion.  This is a truly astronomical rise.  It can be added to the already massive liability that taxpayers face for public sector pensions in general, £1 trillion according to leading... Read more...

Shocking bonuses at the BBC

Trust in the BBC is non-existent. Its most popular programmes were recently rumbled, exposing a widespread phone-in scam that fleeced thousands of license-fee payers who thought they were taking part in legitimate competitions. They were even caught out in the Telegraph this morning by digitally generating parts of their ‘factual’... Read more...

Our Not Fit For Purpose Government

League table of incompetence: scores out of ten The table above is taken from a shocking report just published by the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee- Skills for Government (para 27). They say: "No department seems to be exactly “fit for purpose”, although the Home Office is unique... Read more...

Soft A-Levels

"But critics say that there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that examinations are now easier than they were inthe 70s and 80s.  It comes as the Government prepares to publish the results of tests taken by children aged 11 tomorrow.  Dr Coe analysed the standards achieved by... Read more...

Taxpayers funding births abroad

So we hear news about NHS budget deficits and hospitals not having enough money to clean wards properly.  Apparently, however, there’s enough money to pay for treatment abroad rather than spending the money on the NHS at home.   Taken from the public purse, 269 women took advantage of the... Read more...

Weekly Waste Round-Up 70

That will be £12 grand In the even-sillier-than-usual season news this week-£12k on probing towels hazard- "HEALTH and safety bureaucrats wasted £12,000 — studying BATH TOWELS. Boffins wanted to know if laying them on the bathroom floor makes you more or less likely to slip. But the Government-funded project failed... Read more...

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