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Cult Of Amateur Delivers Northern Wreck

The Labour dominated Treasury Select Committee had a simple job yesterday- to stick responsibility for the Northern Rock debacle on Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England. Darling and Brown clearly wanted that, and so too did the City banks, who have been running a well orchestrated campaign... Read more...

Getting into the top universities

The Sutton Trust reports (PDF) that state school pupils do not have the same chance of getting into top universities even if they have the same grades as a student from a private school.  It is important to understand that this doesn't necessarily mean that the universities are discriminating.There is... Read more...

The "rich" are merely those who earn more than MPs

An interesting piece from the Scotsman points out that while the Liberal Democrats plan to hammer "rich" households earning more than £70,000, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell earns £60,227 as an MP:"SIR Menzies Campbell yesterday pledged to "hammer" households earning more than £70,000 with higher taxes. "The Liberal Democrat... Read more...

Not Me Guv Government

He's to blame Do you remember "joined-up government"? No, don't scream. Labour's slogan said that government under the hopelessboomandbust Tories operated in silos- they would join it up again to servethemanynotthefew.You remember that?The real world has turned out to be a tad more problematic.For one thing, just bunging everything together... Read more...

Poems on 'The Public' by David Bartley

Black Country poet and West Midlands TaxPayers’ Alliance supporter David Bartley has written some poetry inspired by the unopened £70 million eye-sore, ‘The Public’ arts centre in West Bromwich, summing up the general feeling about the building around the Sandwell area… Please don’t forget - you can still sign our... Read more...

Britain falls in international education league tables

The Times reports another international comparison that shows failure in British education.  It uses exam results which there is good reason to think significantly overestimate standards in British schools due to pupils being taught to the test.  The real picture could be much worse: Read more...

Non-job of the Week

When Islington Council has in the past been responsible for such bright wheezes as using £400,000 of taxpayers’ money to clean up graffiti and then offering free classes to local teenagers in graffiti techniques, and employing a Recycling Education Officer at £30,000 a year, it is not necessarily surprising that... Read more...

Mela organisers demand £34k from Birmingham City Council

Testament to how generous Birmingham City Council are known to be with their (our) cash, the organisers of July’s Banga Mela Festival in Handsworth Park – the Bangladesh Community Trust – are trying their luck and appealing to be reimbursed by the council for a £34,000 loss on the event... Read more...

Restrictive surgery hours costs business £1 billion every year

The Times reports a new survey showing the cost to Britain of time off to visit the doctor."The Confederation of British Industry said yesterday that the cost to the economy caused by restricted surgery times and problems booking appointments was more than £1 billion. The CBI argues that patients should... Read more...

Public see little prospect of improvement in the public services

The Financial Times reports a decline in the numbers expecting improvements in the public services:"On public services generally, those who believe things will get worse outnumber those who believe they will get better by 22 percentage points, against 13 in May."The public are probably right.  Politicians don't yet appear ready... Read more...

Primary Care System in Need of Urgent Reform

The health service exists not for the doctors it employs but for the patients who fund it.  This seems a pretty uncontroversial statement, yet when 90% of GPs have chosen to make themselves unavailable to patients outside the weekday hours of 8am to 6.30pm whilst enjoying an average salary of... Read more...

Blank Cheque

So just what are we taxpayers on the hook for? What exactly has the government's panic bank deposit guarantee announcement exposed us to (see this blog)?Having trawled through the papers and official websites this morning, it's entirely unclear what's actually been agreed. The official HM Treasury merely repeats Darling's TV... Read more...

Taxpayers introducing local democracy

A local Dorset campaign group has used UK legislation to stage its own ‘parish referendum’ on the EU constitution.From the BBC:“Villagers in Dorset are using part of UK legislation to stage a referendum on the EU Treaty. Demands for a national ballot on the treaty have been refused by ministers.... Read more...

Zac Goldsmith responds to his critics

Goldsmith’s response to his critics has more than a whiff of desperation.  He starts out by separating bans and regulations in an attempt to portray the report as containing little of either:“Reports that we want to ban Plasma screens are wrong. We want to encourage plasmas that are less wasteful.... Read more...

A wheelie bad waste in Ashford

Ashford Borough Council, fresh after wasting thousands of pounds initiating a public consultation on graffiti (that’s street art to the politically correct), is now wasting thousands of pounds of taxpayers money buying bicycles and accessories for council staff to urge them to 'go green'.  Council staff will then buy back... Read more...

Weekly Waste Watch- 74

Let's just keep this between ourselves In the news this week-Labour's union sweetheart deal costs us £4.468bn- "The cost to business of Labour's backroom deals with its union backers now runs into the billions... the true cost of the so-called Warwick Agreement, signed by Tony Blair to secure £8m of... Read more...

Yours!

Congratulations! If you're a taxpayer you're now effectively the proud owner of Northern Rock's mortgage book.Northern Rock has been a crisis waiting to break. They have been just about the most aggressive mortgage lender: they have been lending at very high income multiples, and they have been prepared to top... Read more...

Tower Shamlets at it again...

From this morning’s Metro newspaper:“Two white councillors have hit out after being excluded from a meeting because of their colour.Peter Golds and Stephanie Eaton said they were outraged at not being asked to take part in the focus group at Tower Hamlets Council in East London.The gathering was organised to... Read more...

TPA ignites tax debate in Norwich

The TPA has today scored a success in Norwich.  The Norwich Evening News has printed a selection of our ‘rapid reaction’ letters to the news fed to us by TPA activist Barbara Lockwood.  We thought it disgraceful that Norwich City Council spent over £300,000 of taxpayers’ money in a power-grab... Read more...

Staffordshire County Council Non-jobs

Whilst Stoke-On-Trent Council advertise for a £75,000-per-year spin doctor as reported in last week’s The Sentinel, Staffordshire County Council now continue the theme with two advertised posts of dubious value.A council run children’s centre in Burton wants a ‘Community Link Worker (Fathers)’ (£15,459 - £17,985) to help fathers fulfil their... Read more...

TaxPayers' Alliance response to the Quality of Life Policy Group

This document sets out the problems with the "Blueprint for a Green Economy:  Submission to the Shadow Cabinet" report of the Conservative Quality of Life Policy Group. It details how the report is based upon highly suspect assumptions and proposes increased taxes, increased regulation, new quangos, a curb to vital... Read more...

Islington Branch to kick off their campaigns!

Wednesday saw the first meeting of the Islington TPA, with an impressive turnout of activists committed to a grassroots campaign for change.  We met at the very stylish Alwyne pub in Islington and talked about the local campaign and what plans there are for the coming months. Chris Williams and... Read more...

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