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Paws for thought: Absurd VAT distinctions for animals

By Elliot Keck, investigations campaigns manager   There is no end to the absurdities of the UK’s VAT system. But one chapter not yet written is that of VAT on pets and animal products. If Dilyn the Downing Street dog was half as influential as his number of column inches... Read more...

Taxpayers musn’t be made to fund greenwashing

By Joe Ventre, digital campaign manager   The farmlands of Wales are world-renowned. From lamb to leeks, agriculture has long been a staple of the Welsh economy. In a changing world, big business has become increasingly keen to lap up this land - but not for the reasons you might... Read more...

Naughty step: how to cut the cost of childcare

By Sara Rainwater, operations director   The cost of childcare isn't a tax, but it is still something I’ve been painfully aware of since having my first child almost 11 years ago. In fact if I tot up all the money I’ve spent on childcare in the past 10 years,... Read more...

2021 was a tough year for taxpayers

By Benjamin Elks   The last twelve months have been tough on the taxpayers, with record levels of spending and tax rises across the board. Through it all, the TaxPayers Alliance has almost been a lone voice.  We’ve challenged the fashionable idea that higher spending (and higher taxes to pay... Read more...

Want to radically reform Whitehall? - Franchise it out

by David Campbell Bannerman, Chairman of The Freedom Association, Conservative MEP 2009-19 and inventor of railway franchising   A few weeks ago, vaccine heroine Dame Kate Bingham criticised Whitehall for “groupthink” and a “devastating lack of skills and experience in science, industry and manufacturing”. The TaxPayers’ Alliance agreed, arguing in the... Read more...

A step towards simpler taxes?

By Joe Ventre, digital campaign manager You’d be forgiven for not knowing, but last week was Tax Administration and Maintenance Day. On this auspicious occasion, tax officials publish a load of in depth policy updates. After the fanfare of the Budget, this is the day for under-the-radar adjustments.      This... Read more...

Fighting the covid fraudsters

by Darwin Friend, policy analyst at the TaxPayers' Alliance   Today the National Audit Office released a report on the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, revealing that a massive £4.9 billion from the scheme was accessed fraudulently. That’s more than you’d need to take a penny off income tax.   But... Read more...

The stealth subsidies scandal

By Darwin Friend, policy analyst   Subsidies - or using taxpayers’ money to support certain sectors, businesses or activities - are like any other form of government spending. But analysis from the TaxPayers’ Alliance has found that 64 per cent of subsidies handed out by the government wouldn't have to... Read more...

Time to simplify shopping?

by Joe Ventre, digital campaign manager    Black Friday in 2021 is a very different occasion from the high street mega sales we saw in years past. A run on the local Argos has been superseded by a mammoth internet shopping session, loading up our online carts with all manner... Read more...

What could Boris’ new rail plans mean for the south?

By Harry Fone, grassroots campaign manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance The government’s decision to scrap the eastern leg of High Speed Two may not have been an easy one, but the logic behind it was spot on. As secretary of state Grant Shapps laid out in his address to the... Read more...

A tax on responsibility?

By Sara Rainwater, operations director   I hate insurance premium tax (IPT) almost as much as I hate stamp duty land tax (see my previous rant about that one here).    I consider myself a responsible adult. Like the vast majority of the population, I like to play by the... Read more...

Don’t just freeze the BBC licence fee, scrap it altogether

By Joe Ventre, digital campaign manager   One unsung hero of the Christmas season is television. Movie marathons, heartstring-tugging adverts, the Queen’s Speech, Christmas specials of your favourite shows - all of these things add to those festive feelings. Yet as we settle down in the evenings and switch on... Read more...

How to solve the second jobs debacle

By Scott Simmonds, researcher   After the fallout of the Owen Patterson case, MPs' second jobs have become a topic of heated debate, with the idea of some MPs topping up their already generous salary causing outrage.    Of course, few would disagree with the principle of MPs having ‘real... Read more...

Heat pumps subsidies - are they full of hot air?

By Harry Fone, grassroots campaign manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance As COP26 rolls on, leaders and climate experts from around the world have discussed a myriad of ways to cut carbon emissions. One much-touted method in this country is to replace gas boilers in our homes with air or ground... Read more...

The big government spending items you didn't expect

By Scott Simmonds, researcher   Last week’s budget left many taxpayers speechless. With the Office of Budget Responsibility showing public sector net borrowing will reach £319.9 billion in 2020-21 (pushing public sector net debt to 94.9 per cent), many of us were bewildered at the scale of spending plans. Government departments... Read more...

Flying high, the chancellor shouldn’t stall on more APD reforms

by Duncan Simpson, research director at the TaxPayers’ Alliance   Wednesday’s Budget was certainly a mixed bag for taxpayers. While we welcome the shake up of alcohol duties and business rates, it was also clear that the chancellor’s purse strings are not going to close for some time. But ahead... Read more...

Taxpayers deserve a level playing field between HMRC and Jobcentre Plus

By John O'Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance   Taxpayers pay a small fortune for the welfare system. The benefits system cost a whopping £249 billion last year, with the department that administers welfare (via Jobcentre Plus) and pensions employing around 80,000 people. Through universal credit, it provides a safety... Read more...

Five Budget asks from the British public

By Harry Fone, grassroots campaign manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance Last week, my colleague Scott Simmonds and I embarked on a whistlestop tour of the country to gauge the mood of the public ahead of next week’s Budget and the Spending Review. Covering over 600 miles in three days, we... Read more...

(Don’t) let them eat cake!

By Joe Ventre, digital campaign manager   Today is National Dessert Day - a day to celebrate all kinds of wonderful food. Cream cakes! Ice cream! Chocolate puddings! All the things the government says we aren’t supposed to eat...   That list of course is growing, and has been under... Read more...

The best of ThinkTent 2021

It’s almost the end of the party conference season. For a few weeks every year, politicos descend on exhibition venues somewhere outside London and spend days on end watching speeches and debating policies.   The same goes for us at TaxPayers’ Alliance. Whether it's responding to the big speech from... Read more...

Council commercial properties: will the bubble burst?

By Darwin Friend, policy analyst   Prudence with taxpayers’ money should always be at the forefront of decision making by officials in local authorities. Yet this is often not the case. From six-figure pay packets for staff to millions lost on council owned energy companies, the wastage of public money... Read more...

Now is not the time to end the hospitality VAT cut

by Danielle Boxall, media campaign manager   The TaxPayers’ Alliance has written extensively on the plight of struggling sectors, in particular the hospitality industry, as the country has begun to emerge from the pandemic. According to the latest retail stats from Office for National Statistics (ONS), it seems that the... Read more...

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