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Campaign Diary 30th August 2007

Today has been a day of branch building, making calls to activists and sending letters to supporters.  If you’re on our list in Guildford, Godalming, St. Albans, Potters Bar and Hatfield, then expect a letter, email or call from me sometime soon attempting to enlist you to the frontline battle... Read more...

Politics Of Envy Meets Winter Of Discontent

How come he's got such a big lyre? It's not fair The media has been crammed with politics of envy stories this week.Those egregious investment bankers, private equity gangsters, and hedge fund cowboys in the City have apparently helped themselves to £14bn! Just like that. Even though everyone knows they... Read more...

The Conservative strategy on the NHS

Louise Bagshawe, a Conservative candidate, argues on ConservativeHome in favour of the current Conservative strategy on the NHS.  Essentially, she argues that the "Stop Brown's NHS Cuts" campaign has been a political success and is highlighting an important issue. The problem is that, whatever the short-term results of the "Stop... Read more...

Lower city bonuses mean lower tax revenues

The Telegraph reports today: "Alistair Darling could face a multi-billion pound tax shortfall in the coming year as the City's market misery takes its toll on bonuses and bank profits."The Treasury could miss out on as much as £2bn in tax revenues if the coming round of City bonuses disappoints,... Read more...

Corporation Tax Too Complex For HMRC

The long view- lower tax rates have not cut revenue Yesterday's FT story on Corporation Tax got a deal of coverage. As you will recall, it said that one-third of Britain's 700 biggest companies pay no CT.On the face of it, that's surprising because almost all of those companies will... Read more...

Shropshire road pricing coalition

West Midlands TaxPayers’ Alliance supporter and author of the 1.8 million signature Downing Street website petition against road pricing, Peter Roberts, has become involved as secretary of a new coalition to campaign against proposals for congestion charging in Shrewsbury town centre (Birmingham Post). Led by Daniel Kawczynski MP, the local... Read more...

Non-job of the week

This week’s non-job is rather sobering.  Given the anarchy sweeping the UK, with gangs attacking children and other innocents, the political classes recognise the crisis on our streets.  Calls for more police are one thing.  People recognise that police on the beat cut crime.  A police presence makes our most... Read more...

Direct evidence that science exams are being made easier

The Times has uncovered clear evidence that exams are not just becoming easier but that there is a conscious effort going on to make them easier: "Examiners will have to set easier questions in some GCSE science papers, undernew rules seen by The Times. A document prepared by the Joint... Read more...

Locals say 'no' to Supplementary Business Rates

The Birmingham Post reports today that business leaders and one leading Birmingham councillor have vocally rejected proposals to give councils the power to raise ‘top up’ rates on local firms. Councillor Tilsley was sceptical of these Supplementary Business Rates (SBRs), saying that the council does not want Birmingham to be... Read more...

Privatisation of school management is effective

The Financial Times covers a new report from the CBI, which argues that the private sector has proved itself to be a powerful stimulus for raising standards in schools: "The government forced nine underperforming local authorities to outsource the management of their schools five years ago. The CBI says their... Read more...

One-third of biggest businesses pay no tax

An interesting report in the Financial Times today reveals that almost a third of the UK's 700 biggest businesses paid no corporation tax in the 2005-06 financial year, while another 30 per cent paid less than £10 million each. Overall, the National Audit Office report found that the 700 companies... Read more...

The Taxman's trips abroad

The Daily Mail this morning reveals how tax inspectors are travelling round the world, notching up some 200,000 miles, to investigate new ways to “raise bills at home”. Staff from the Valuation Office Agency mocked taxpayers over dinner, stayed in five-star-hotels and even cashed in on a ‘free’ trip to... Read more...

Early Learning Programme Flops

Nursery education is meant to be one of the most cost effective ways of raising overall attainment. Head start, flying start, whatever snappy name the lobbyists and politicos hang on it, it's money well spent.So you can understand why Labour has pumped money in, launching a raft of programmes and... Read more...

US deficit to fall yet again

The Financial Times today reports that the US budget deficit will shrink to $158 billion in fiscal year 2007, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. This latest forecast is down from its March estimate of a $177 billion deficit and significantly lower than a $205 billion estimate issued by... Read more...

UK worst in western Europe for stroke treatment

Fresh from a report showing how cancer survival rates in Britain compare poorly with other European countries, a new report in the British Medical Journal covered in the media today warns that the UK has the worst outcome for strokes in western Europe despite spending the same amount or more... Read more...

Subsidized theatre visits

Birmingham City Council are running an exclusive scheme named “Northfield Nights” that claims to subsidize theatre ticket prices at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre for residents in the south of the city, meaning that they can enjoy productions from as low as £2 entrance (Bromsgrove Standard, 23rd August). The finer detail... Read more...

Grumpy taxpayers

A postcard campaign by Bromsgrove District Council that asks local residents whether they are ‘Glad or Grumpy’ with the council’s service has caused a stir and despite costing over £1,500 is having to be reprinted and redistributed to people in the area. Disagreement arose as some Labour councillors took exception... Read more...

Non-job of the week

You can always expect a green, taxpayer-funded non-job in the Guardian Society pages every week.  Over the weeks the proliferation of adverts for "climate change officers" and their lackeys is clear to the eye.  And it's worrying too as we're the ones paying for them.  They mean well, yes, but... Read more...

Cancer Survival Rates

Apparently the United Kingdom has some of the worst rates of cancer survival in Europe, significantly worse than others spending a similar amount.  For ovarian cancer 30% survive in the UK whereas 43% survive in countries like Austria.  This difference has not been overcome by the NHS cancer plan, launched... Read more...

More from Barnet

We make a habit now of filming any of our TPA excursions to give our supporters a better sense of what we do during our grassroots activity.  The first video shows us gathering outside the court house as more supporters arrive.  The horns of passing motorists were already honking their... Read more...

Council Tax Protest in Barnet

A group of determined TPA activists set upon Barnet Magistrates Court to protest against the unfair council tax and to support TPA member Austin Spiteri in his battle with the council over council tax.   Mr Spiteri has been hounded by Barnet council over his daughter’s non-payment of council tax. ... Read more...

More branding waste

The Child Support Agency, now scrapped for being utterly useless, spent £60,000 just on consultants to "research brand development" according to the Express today.  Between that, big bonuses for its staff and £3.5 billion in uncollected fines it's hard to think of a government body that has represented worse value... Read more...

Firms having to teach their workers the three Rs

Despite a chorus of "rising standards" from politicians firms are having to teach teenage workers basic numeracy and literacy.  From the Telegraph: "Half of employers said some teenagers were "unable to function in the workplace" claiming they cannot make simple calculations in theirheads, speak in an articulate manner or understand... Read more...

Police Community Support Officers

Today the Daily Express reports that Police Community Support Officers solve one crime every six years and hand out fines at a rate of one every four months.  The justification provided by the Home Office for their continued existence and, indeed, the expansion of the programme is illuminating: "Their primary... Read more...

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