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The EU accounting shambles continues

Marta Andreasen, the former chief accountant of the European Union, has lost her claim against the EU for wrongful dismissal.  She was sacked after alleging that EU book-keeping was riddled with “slush funds and fraud” and disclosing that there was a £130million discrepancy between two sets of EU accounts which,... Read more...

Educational co-operatives

The idea of allowing communities to form co-operative schools, proposed by the Conservatives yesterday in Manchester, has a lot to recommend it.  It would get politicians out of the management of education in many areas if the idea was taken-up on the same scale as in Sweden and Spain.  Those... Read more...

The failure of regeneration schemes

Policy Exchange have released a report (PDF) examing the effectiveness of expensive regeneration schemes designed to create a renaissance in poor inner cities.  Their research team's findings offer a fascinating insight into how the divide between successful suburb and poor inner city has actually grown over time: "On GVA, the... Read more...

Keeping children after school

The Telegraph reports new government plans for slow readers to stay behind after school for "back-to-basics lessons in how to recognise words and extra time practising silent reading to bring them up to scratch".   It is tempting to argue for or against this as a policy in isolation.  Will... Read more...

Petrol Pix

Today at the pumps The back story Just take a moment to make sure you understand what's going on here.Since Labour came to power, the average pump price of unleaded petrol has increased from 55.8p per litre to 100.06p, a rise of 44.3p (79%).Of that extra 44.3p, no less than... Read more...

Peter Webb on the South West Surrey TPA Campaign

Peter Webb is branch organiser for the South West Surrey Branch of the TaxPayers' Alliance including STAG (the Surrey Tax Action Group).  Here he explains how he got involved in activism and offers some good tips as to how other activists can get involved and hold their authorities to account:... Read more...

Non-job of the week

It’s that time again, the weekly painful trawl through the pages of the Guardian Society jobs section to find yet more cringe-worthy jobs you couldn’t make up but ones that you certainly are paying for.  We look this week to North Norfolk District Council, spending your money on a ‘County... Read more...

The Bank Robber Bill

With the new practice of trailing the Queen's Speech in advance, and testing the water on various proposals, people could perhaps be forgiven for not getting as excited as is traditional about the Bills laid out yesterday. After all, the issues are all fairly recognisable and much-debated already, agree with... Read more...

Two days, two new TPA organisers

It’s been an exciting two days for the TPA grassroots campaign.  Yesterday activists from Hatfield, St. Albans and Stevenage got together for another meeting to organise yet more campaign activities in Hertfordshire.  They have already handed out well over 400 leaflets in a month, with more on their way.  If... Read more...

Taxi drives 600miles weekly for a 5mile round-trip

Yesterday’s Shropshire Star reported some profligate spending of the most ridiculous kind by Shropshire County Council.   The council, who tender out contracts to taxi firms taking local children to and from school, have been paying for a taxi to travel around 600 miles per week in order to take... Read more...

Quantity Over Quality

Comrades- we will build ten million more Labour has spent billions of our cash on increasing the quantity of state education.In 2006-07 it spent £74bn, more than double the £36.4bn spent ten years ago (a 60% increase in real terms). And that leaves out of account the much greater debts... Read more...

Oh Deer...

Oh Deer…   This is an actual job from the Scottish ‘Government’:   “Deer Officer   £21,292 - £28,520   This post is responsible for delivering Deer Commission for Scotland (DCS) work across the Central Belt, the Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, and Fife, and for helping to develop new policy,... Read more...

Keeping an eye on the cost of Identity Cards

One of the main reasons taxpayers are opposed to identity cards is the sheer cost of them and the potential spiralling cost to administer a scheme that may well not work as well as the politicians foresee.    Is it any wonder we suspect the costs will grow when the... Read more...

Non-jobs in Hertfordshire

Hard-working activists in Hertfordshire have dug up some superb taxpayer-funded non-jobs in the area.  Just a few from their campaign site include:   £42,000 for a ‘Head of Community Empowerment’ at the Watford Community Housing Trust.  The job description reads:   “You will work with our tenant and leaseholder members... Read more...

Stoke Council cut back on rubbish collection

Residents in Fenton, Stoke-On-Trent, have been wondering (rightly) what on earth they pay their council taxes for as they now have to drag their heavy wheelie bins to end of the uneven and cobbled alley behind their houses as the council has changed its collection policy (The Sentinel).   One... Read more...

South West Surrey TPA in the news

  Congratulations to Peter Webb and the South West Surrey TPA branch.  TPA South West Surrey Organiser Peter Webb hit the front page of the Surrey Times with comment on his local MP’s expenses.  This is how our branches are expanding their campaigns.  Peter has been working to recruit taxpayers... Read more...

The Adam Smith Institute on welfare reform

The Adam Smith Institute have published an excellent study (PDF) on the vitally important subject of welfare reform.  It shows how the US has managed to fight poverty by getting people into work. In stark contrast, Britain's over-complicated welfare system masks incentives and tries to spend the poor out of... Read more...

State education failure: reading

A report published by the Cambridge Primary Review, the biggest inquiry into primary education for decades, has found that the National Literacy Strategy has had almost no impact on children's reading skills. The research was carried out by academics at the universities of Bristol and Durham and the National Foundation... Read more...

Business Link staff warn public cash will be wasted on move

Buiness Link West Midlands, a quango ‘whose visibility in the business world is poor’ now has its own staff revolting in opposition to it wasting taxpayers' money (Birmingham Post).   Despite staff contracts stating that the organisation will remain in the Black Country, the wheels are in motion for a... Read more...

The 'pink elephant' lives on...

We are about to be hearing a lot more about The Public, the vastly over budget arts centre in West Bromwich that has been nicknamed the ‘pink elephant’ by detractors.   From today it has a new captain at the helm who is attempting to steer it towards a successful... Read more...

Blaming the cancer victim

An excellent blog over at An Englishman's Castle (via Devils Kitchen) explains that the report that too much red meat is giving us all cancer is massively overblown: "I have actually downloaded the report , all 537 pages of it. It is a vast data dredge. I have failed to... Read more...

Scuffling At The Pension Trough

Because I'm worth it Lord Falconer is scuffling with Gordon Brown over how much money we taxpayers will be forced to shell out to keep him in comfortable retirement. Brown's offering £50 grand pa: Falconer's demanding £100 grand. They'll be meeting in court.Meanwhile, the head of the Post Office- yes,... Read more...

Threatening Schools Week

Apparently it is Threatening Schools Week.  Yesterday the Charities Commission threatened to remove charitable status from private schools they didn't think were doing enough to help poorer students.  Today the Telegraph reports that Gordon Brown is threatening to close schools that don't reach a sufficient standard in GCSE results.  ... Read more...

Possible U-turn on capital gains tax

In what appears to be at least a partial climbdown, the  Government is considering re-introducing a capital gains tax retirement relief of £100,000 for small businessmen who sell up and retire. The Times reports: "Three weeks after Mr Darling announced his plan for a single 18 per cent rateof capital... Read more...

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