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Protectionism in Europe is on the rise

The Wall Street Journal reports today yet another example of how continental politicians hope to use  the EU as a means of enforcing their economically disastrous policies across the whole continent. Each individual EU country knows that their statist schemes will retard economic growth, and send investors, entrepreneurs and capital... Read more...

It just gets worse at the BBC

It’s been a very bad week for our state broadcasting station.  As an 'impartial', government run, taxpayer funded outfit, it’s been accused of bias (again) and today’s papers expose another phone-in competition scam at the BBC.  This comes barely days after Blue Peter admitted fixing one of their competitions.  Today... Read more...

More power for quango

Just as the West Midlands breathes a sigh of relief this week following announcements confirming that the undemocratic regional assemblies are to be phased out, we learn that the powers of the money-guzzling, unelected regional development agency, Advantage West Midlands, are to be strengthened to include housing, planning and transport... Read more...

Non-job of the week

Recently we published a report on Green Jobs in town halls exposing just how much taxpayers’ money is being wasted on green bureaucrats.  Islington featured prominently, as well as Tower Shamlets, in taking taxpayers’ money and wasting it on green gesture politics. So, true to form, Islington council yet again... Read more...

"End" Of Targets

The new localism After nine years of tractor factory misery, the government is going to "abandon" its public service targets. According to Andy Burnham, new Chief Secretary to HM Treasury:"A bonfire of government targets to ease red tape affecting schools, hospitals and town halls will be ordered tomorrow as part... Read more...

The causes of political disengagement

        To the Centre for Policy Studies for a seminar on “political disengagement”.  Peter Bradley, the ex-Labour MP and author of a new report – Anti-Social Britain: Tackling Political Disengagement – was speaking on the subject of voter apathy, what has caused it and who was to... Read more...

Ofsted succumbing to Parkinson's Law?

On 1st April this year Ofsted was re-launched as the Office for Standards in Education, Children'sServices and Skills, with an increased remit to inspect children’s homes, adult learning and fostering agencies. There is already concern that that this bureaucratic expansion has only increased Ofsted’s complexity, meaning it is no longer... Read more...

The 'Recall' - how to hold politicians to account

One problem we face in British politics is the over-centralisation of the political system.  Taxpayers are often financing a system too unfair and iniquitous as to defy belief.  Yet we are too distant from the centre of power, we lack the ability to transform the system that forces us to... Read more...

Metronet Meltdown

Good at PR... less good at doing the job on budget Taxpayers should be very concerned about the parlous state of Metronet. That's the company that has £17bn of Public Private Partnership contracts to maintain, renew, and upgrade nine of London's Underground (LU) lines. And today it's teetering on the... Read more...

More excuses for increasing tax on business

The Times reports that this week the government has proposed to allow local authorities to levy an additional tax on businesses in the form of an infrastructure tax which will be paid by business in the city of London, and will be limited to 4p in the pound. This new... Read more...

The Global Warming Industry in Local Government

Yesterday the Sunday Telegraph reported on a TaxPayers' Alliance study of local government's attempts to fight global warming: "Using figures obtained from 25 councils across England and Wales, the Taxpayers' Alliance, a pressure group, calculated that councils on average now employ eight people to work on green issues. If that figure were repeated... Read more...

BBC Brussels Bias

We blogged a while ago about a BBC probe into its own bias.  Last week we had the BBC smear campaign against the Queen.  Now the BBC is probing the Today programme to gauge the extent of its bias in favour of the European Union. In a letter to Sir... Read more...

24/7 Government Delayed Due To Technical Operating Difficulties

Estimated cost* of government websites As regular BOM readers may recall, back in 2001 Tony Blair held a Special Information Age Cabinet (see this blog). He breathlessly announced:"I want the UK to be the world's leading Internet economy... I am bringing forward our target for getting all Government services online... Read more...

Weekly Waste Round-Up 67

Shutting after five years In the news this week:£25m school shut after just five years- "Plans have been made to close a secondary school in Essex built at a cost of £25m five years ago. Bishops Park College in Clacton (pic above) opened in 2002 and was hailed as a... Read more...

Mixed messages from the Tories on regional government

There has been some speculation in recent days that regional assemblies are about to be abolished.     The faux-oversight they were supposed to offer the vast regional development agencies was always a sham, and now it seems that Gordon Brown has had enough of them.  In yesterday’s Times, the move... Read more...

Latest TPA Email Bulletin

Campaign News Visit the new TaxPayers' Alliance website... Launched at the weekend, the new TPA website has a brand new layout and improved design. We listened to feedback on the site and from responses to our website survey and have tried to accommodate the wishes of our existing audience as... Read more...

The Land Of Golden Goodbyes

So long suckers The NHS financial crisis is costing us a fortune. Brown's seven years of plenty may have come to an abrupt halt, but in an organisation legendary for squandering public money, that translates into ever more, and ever crasser wastefulness. This morning we learn of yet another huge... Read more...

So long regional government?

It is now looking increasingly likely that the West Midlands will be bidding adieu to its regional assembly after it seems that the power of the assemblies in the South West and North East could be handed back to elected councils as early as 2010. Jon Walker comments in today’s... Read more...

Further evidence of tax credit failures

In its annual audit of the department, the National Audit Office yesterday refused to sign off HMRC's annual accounts, "due to levels of claimant error and fraud in the tax credits system". The NAO report was full of damning evidence on the failure of tax credits: 1. Tax credits overpayment... Read more...

"Beyond the Dome" - coming tomorrow

The TaxPayers' Alliance is putting out a major report tomorrow on the scale of overruns in public sector capital procurement projects. We have examined over 300 projects and calculated the total overrun (which runs into many £billions), the average overrun, how much this costs each household every year (many hundreds... Read more...

Liberal Democrat Tax Proposals

Download Reducing the Burden: Policies for tax reform (PDF)There are some good ideas in the Liberal Democrat tax proposals: Simplification of the tax code and postcard-style returns could ease the administrative burden faced by individuals and companies.  Britain has the most complex tax system in the world, having recently overtaken India;... Read more...

Fruit Fiasco

Hey kids! Here's a cool way to waste £119m! Nanny's simple-minded attempt to get school children eating more fresh fruit and veg has been a total flop.The idea was that school kids only eat crisps and sweeties because they aren't given the alternative of fresh fruit and veg. Give them... Read more...

Make Bribery and Corruption History

This year we British taxpayers will shell out £4.7bn on the government's international aid programme; that's nearly £200 for every British household.Setting aside the highly contentious issue of whether taxpayers should be forced to contribute to overseas charity in the first place, do we get value for money?As we blogged... Read more...

More affordable housing doesn't translate to lower property taxes

Gordon Brown has announced that housing, and providing housing for first time buyers in particular, will be the main priority of next year’s parliamentary agenda. He claims that "[p] utting affordable housing within the reach not just of the few but the many is vital both to meeting individual aspirations... Read more...

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