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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

                        BBC News Magazine, June 2007 - what they really think...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... 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.  They’re... Read more...

Kiddy Kevlar - a sign of the times...

                                                              A model student, safe for one more day... It had to happen. A firm in Essex is filling the gap in the market for worried parents of inner-city... 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 £1.5 billion.At... 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 pictures of... 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 costing us?  Think... 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 the 1974... 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...

Council sponsors football team and not services

Our Dagenham and Rainham TPA organiser has sent us information about Dagenham council’s reckless use of public money.The council is using £90,000 of taxpayers’ money to sponsor their local football team, Dagenham and Rainham FC.  This happens while the council uses its propaganda sheets, such as New Spotlight, to whine... Read more...

Real Business In Brown's Britain - send in your experiences

                            The excellent Jeff Randall is asking readers who run companies with fewer than 100 staff to write in for a new Telegraph series – Real Business in Brown’s Britain: “The aim is to cut through official hype and discover... Read more...

Dentistry Fiasco Update

Open your wallet very wide please We've blogged the NHS dentist fiasco many times (eg here). And today we hear that the Department of Health's latest convoluted attempt to increase availability has flopped.Their new contract for NHS dentists was supposed to end the piecework "drill and fill" culture, yet at... Read more...

Council offers 'ladder climbing training'

Lancashire county council has stunned its roadside workforce by insisting that all staff that climbs a 4-foot ladder to put up road signs must have ‘ladder training’.  Added to this the council are inviting the fire and rescue services to take time off from their essential duties to instruct people... Read more...

Non-job of the week

Two things stand out in this week’s non-job.  The first is the proliferation of ‘welfare rights’ advisors and other local government apparatchiks who are paid generous amounts to explain to people how to claim benefits.  This raises the question of whether councils are actively pursuing take-up of benefits and that... Read more...

Pass Or Fail?

Qualification A- pass rate 96% Qualification B- pass rate 44%The charts above show the history of pass rates for two qualifications.One is a highly respected, highly prized qualification that opens career doors all over the world.The other isn't.Can you guess which is which?Here are some clues. Qualification B where the... Read more...

Council magazine costs £230,000

Staffordshire County Council have once again outdone themselves in terms of profligate spending and managed to blow £230,000 on publishing their glossy magazine named Your Staffordshire (The Sentinel), a self-promoting brochure that includes interviews with Staffordshire celebrities such as Anthea Turner… A £50 million council funding shortfall makes this costly... Read more...

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