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Cost of Government Day: Monday 23 July

The TPA has extended the concept of Tax Freedom Day, long championed by the Adam Smith Institute and now an established part of the political calendar (in 2007 it fell on 1 June) and can now provide an estimate of the Cost of Government Day.  This is the date in... Read more...

Weekly Waste Round-Up 68

Hope you guys are insured... In the news this week:Hull Council's insurance fiasco cost £200m- "Taxpayers face a massive bill to repair flood damage in Hull after the local council admitted that its properties were not insured. Officials at Kingston-upon-Hull City Council revealed that most of the city's 28,500 council... Read more...

Police (In)Efficiency

On Burning our Money we have always doubted claims that our £17bn pa police are efficient. The latest report into police funding from the Home Affairs Select Committee spells out precisely why we are right to be sceptical. Read more...

Spinning Crime

Aide memoire for crime stats This week the Home Office published its latest annual crime statistics. The question is whether anyone takes them seriously.The reality is that hardly any of us believe all those government claims that crime is plummeting, or even this year's more measured assurance that "crime is... Read more...

Delays for road pricing

Councils in the West Midlands have failed to come to any agreement on the prospect of a road pricing scheme for the region and, according to today’s newspapers (Express & Star, 20th July), are set to miss their deadline. Proposals have already cost £4 million to draft and look set... Read more...

Audit warns of more Olympic Overspend

A report form the National Audit Office today warns that the costs of the already over-budget Olympic Games could increase further.  Funding of Olympic venues, construction price inflation and the Olympic Park were areas the NAO highlighted as leading to possible increasing costs.  At £9.3 billion, the 2012 Olympics is... Read more...

Ambulances for the obese

West Midlanders who live in fear of ill health, not because of hesitations about local treatment, but due to worrying if their sheer weight will thwart their transit to hospital, needn’t fear any longer. The West Midlands Ambulance Service is now fully equipped for those who weigh in at 19... Read more...

A Viking revolt over indirect taxes?

In 787 AD, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Britain experienced its first ever Viking raid when a group of warriors sailed from Norway to Devon. On arriving in Devon, they were mistaken for merchants by a royal official, and so asked to pay a tax on their goods. The Vikings... Read more...

We're all going to get sent to Climate Camp...

...if we don't sign up to big new taxes on hard-up manufacturing industry and good old family holidays.I saw this flyer at the Prince Charles cinema off London's Leicester Square; at first I thought it was a macabre joke:Looking at the reverse it appears it is a protest against Heathrow... Read more...

Protectionism in Europe is on the rise

The Wall Street Journal reports today yet another example of how continental politicians hope to use  the EU as a means of enforcing their economically disastrous policies across the whole continent. Each individual EU country knows that their statist schemes will retard economic growth, and send investors, entrepreneurs and capital... Read more...

It just gets worse at the BBC

It’s been a very bad week for our state broadcasting station.  As an 'impartial', government run, taxpayer funded outfit, it’s been accused of bias (again) and today’s papers expose another phone-in competition scam at the BBC.  This comes barely days after Blue Peter admitted fixing one of their competitions.  Today... Read more...

More power for quango

Just as the West Midlands breathes a sigh of relief this week following announcements confirming that the undemocratic regional assemblies are to be phased out, we learn that the powers of the money-guzzling, unelected regional development agency, Advantage West Midlands, are to be strengthened to include housing, planning and transport... Read more...

Non-job of the week

Recently we published a report on Green Jobs in town halls exposing just how much taxpayers’ money is being wasted on green bureaucrats.  Islington featured prominently, as well as Tower Shamlets, in taking taxpayers’ money and wasting it on green gesture politics. So, true to form, Islington council yet again... Read more...

"End" Of Targets

The new localism After nine years of tractor factory misery, the government is going to "abandon" its public service targets. According to Andy Burnham, new Chief Secretary to HM Treasury:"A bonfire of government targets to ease red tape affecting schools, hospitals and town halls will be ordered tomorrow as part... Read more...

The causes of political disengagement

To the Centre for Policy Studies for a seminar on “political disengagement”.  Peter Bradley, the ex-Labour MP and author of a new report – Anti-Social Britain: Tackling Political Disengagement – was speaking on the subject of voter apathy, what has caused it and who was to blame.  Not unusually for... Read more...

Ofsted succumbing to Parkinson's Law?

On 1st April this year Ofsted was re-launched as the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills, with an increased remit to inspect children’s homes, adult learning and fostering agencies. There is already concern that that this bureaucratic expansion has only increased Ofsted’s complexity, meaning it is no... Read more...

The 'Recall' - how to hold politicians to account

One problem we face in British politics is the over-centralisation of the political system.  Taxpayers are often financing a system too unfair and iniquitous as to defy belief.  Yet we are too distant from the centre of power, we lack the ability to transform the system that forces us to... Read more...

Metronet Meltdown

Good at PR... less good at doing the job on budget Taxpayers should be very concerned about the parlous state of Metronet. That's the company that has £17bn of Public Private Partnership contracts to maintain, renew, and upgrade nine of London's Underground (LU) lines. And today it's teetering on the... Read more...

More excuses for increasing tax on business

The Times reports that this week the government has proposed to allow local authorities to levy an additional tax on businesses in the form of an infrastructure tax which will be paid by business in the city of London, and will be limited to 4p in the pound. This new... Read more...

The Global Warming Industry in Local Government

Yesterday the Sunday Telegraph reported on a TaxPayers' Alliance study of local government's attempts to fight global warming: "Using figures obtained from 25 councils across England and Wales, the Taxpayers' Alliance, a pressure group, calculated that councils on average now employ eight people to work on green issues. If that... Read more...

BBC Brussels Bias

We blogged a while ago about a BBC probe into its own bias.  Last week we had the BBC smear campaign against the Queen.  Now the BBC is probing the Today programme to gauge the extent of its bias in favour of the European Union.In a letter to Sir Michael... Read more...

24/7 Government Delayed Due To Technical Operating Difficulties

Estimated cost* of government websites As regular BOM readers may recall, back in 2001 Tony Blair held a Special Information Age Cabinet (see this blog). He breathlessly announced:"I want the UK to be the world's leading Internet economy... I am bringing forward our target for getting all Government services online... Read more...

Weekly Waste Round-Up 67

Shutting after five years In the news this week:£25m school shut after just five years- "Plans have been made to close a secondary school in Essex built at a cost of £25m five years ago. Bishops Park College in Clacton (pic above) opened in 2002 and was hailed as a... Read more...

Mixed messages from the Tories on regional government

There has been some speculation in recent days that regional assemblies are about to be abolished.     The faux-oversight they were supposed to offer the vast regional development agencies was always a sham, and now it seems that Gordon Brown has had enough of them.  In yesterday’s Times, the move... Read more...

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