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Council taxi expenses

Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council were the latest local authorities to be exposed for their extortionate taxi bills in the Coventry Telegraph yesterday. This comes in the wake of Birmingham City Council staff spending a reported £1.17million. Coventry City Council managed to blow £1.5 million, whilst Warwickshire County... Read more...

Private equity taxation to rise?

The Financial Times reports that Alistair Darling is considering raising tax on private equity: "Alistair Darling, the new UK chancellor of the exchequer, is considering an increase from 10 per cent to 20 per cent in the base rate of capital gains tax for investments classed as business assets – such as holdings... Read more...

At last! Action on inheritance tax...

In advance of tomorrow's publication by John Redwood of the Conservative Party's Economic Competitiveness Review, the Daily Mail has been leaked details which strongly suggest that the Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne, will accept the recommendation to radically reform inheritance tax, by excluding the main home from the 40 per cent... Read more...

It’s all about crime

There is usually an increase in coverage of crime and criminal justice matters during the Parliamentary recess when political news dries up in August and non-home affairs reporters take their holidays, and this year has been no different.  But even keen crime-watchers might have got a sense that there seems... Read more...

Is There Anyone Out There Who Doesn't Have 3 As?

Hurrah! A's all round BBC R5 are doing their annual phone-in on the A Level results. And the jock has just asked desperately if someone could phone who hasn't got three A grades- she's just talked to one girl who has five. A quarter of all grades are now A,... Read more...

The Public debate

 The Public arts centre in West Bromwich, the building we chose as a backdrop to the West Midlands TaxPayers’ Alliance launch, continues to inspire debate this week with a feature in today’s Express & Star. Two local figures, Cllr Bill Archer and local artist Fred Barnfield, are called upon to... Read more...

Council Tax Evasion

The amount of uncollected council tax continues to rise each year, reaching well into hundreds of millions of pounds. Research by the GMB union highlights how between the last two financial years the amount of uncollected tax has risen by £19,468,019 to the sum of £760.6 million in 2006/07. Given... Read more...

Hypocrisy at the BBC

There is an internal spat going on at our beloved British Broadcasting Corporation over advertising.  A smug bunch of deputy-assistant tv producers, sound engineers, production assistants and the odd artistic director have teamed up to start a “No Ads Campaign” in opposition to moves by the BBC Board to allow... Read more...

Cost Of Renewable Fantasies

EU renewables plan I've taken a look at the leaked Whitehall paper that spells out for ministers the likely costs to Britain of accepting the EU's fantasy target for renewable energy.It's part of the dismal Blair legacy, the part where he spent his last few months jetting off to Europe... Read more...

Non-job of the week

                                    It’s that time of the week again.  Our weekly trawl through the Guardian Society pages never fails to surprise us with their banal array of jobs on offer.  Our pick this week is from the London NHS. ... Read more...

Kiddy Kevlar - a sign of the times...

It had to happen. A firm in Essex is filling the gap in the market for worried parents of inner-city school kids who face the daily threat of being stabbed to death between lunch in the playground and afternoon geography lessons. As the Sun reports, the company is marketing school... Read more...

Business rates look set to rise to pay for council profligacy

A worrying piece in the Telegraph's business section states:   "Business is facing a series of Government tax raids to pay for the increasing cost of public services.MPs from all parties on the Commons Local Government Committee last week threw their support behind additional business rate taxes that could raise... Read more...

A quarter of pupils 'make no progress from 11 to 14'

The Telegraph reports today that in many subjects one in four pupils makes no progress or falls back between 11 and 14.  This suggests that either secondary school standards are truly dire or primary schools are failing to equip their pupils for the jump to secondary school.  Either way for... Read more...

It's Rochdale...but not as we know it

If anyone needs convincing that Regional Development Agencies are a waste of time, space and money, one should look at the Rochdale Development Agency.  The Times reports this morning that the Rochdale Development Agency has been advertising Rochdale by using pictures of Manchester.   Yes.  They advertised Rochdale by showing... Read more...

Golf tuition for course vandals

Yobs responsible for vandalism and repeated attacks on a Black Country golf course are being treated to free golf tuition according to the Express & Star today. The Brandhall Golf Course in Oldbury is managed by the Sandwell Leisure Trust in partnership with Sandwell Council, and is running this initiative... Read more...

Council fights fashion not crime

Are Peterborough City Council taking the p***?   Forklift driver David Pratt is under investigation by Peterborough City Council for wearing as an ‘offensive’ T-shirt.  He faces a £80 fine if he is caught wearing the T-shirt again.   How much taxpayer’s money is this petty persecution of free expression... Read more...

Conservative plans to cut £14 billion off red tape burden

John Redwood's competitiveness policy group will present its final report on Friday. The report has been widely trailed in the media. A central recommendation is reported to be a £14 billion reduction in red tape on business. This is reported to include:   Repealing working time regulations;Scrapping data protection laws;Reviewing... Read more...

The expensive NHS

It used to be that low NHS standards, still just about the worst in the world according to EU and British Medical Journal studies, were somewhat compensated for by the fact that it was at least relatively cheap.  These days we spend over the OECD average on healthcare while still... Read more...

Weekly Waste Round-Up 71

He's meant to work for us In the news this week:£17,300 to hide MPs expenses from us- "A committee run by the Speaker of the Commons squandered more than £17,000 of taxpayers' money on barristers in an attempt to keep MPs' travel expenses secret. The House of Commons Commission -... Read more...

Defra Disasters

The Surrey foot and mouth outbreak is only the latest in a string of disasters visited on farmers by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs. They also cost taxpayers a fortune. Living very close to the Pirbright labs from which the virus escaped, I've been down to find... Read more...

Wolverhampton's "Green Man"

Despite an inflation busting 4.8% rise in council taxes at the last budget Wolverhampton City Council have still deemed it necessary to recruit a Climate Change Officer to their ranks, complete with a salary of £32,000 per year (Express & Star, 9th August). Environmental awareness is now at the forefront... Read more...

ID card programme launched: another government fisaco in the making

Today's Financial Times reports:"A £2bn procurement programme to build and run the contentious identity card scheme was launched by the government on Thursday.Five suppliers will be chosen to compete for contracts worth up to £500m each, officials said....The contracts would be worth between £50m and £500m, officials said. The two... Read more...

EU tax harmonisation threatens again

An interesting paper has just been written by Damon Lambert, senior tax manager at KPMG, and published by Global Vision, which exposes the truth behind EU tax harmonisation.  The paper shows how the proposed universal tax laws in EU countries are intended to be achieved through government pressures which enforce... Read more...

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