Blog

Council Pay

It was reported yesterday that twelve of Cannock Chase Council’s most senior staff are costing the taxpayer £800,000. This is in addition to three new directorial roles, each with a £80,000 annual salary (Lichfield Mercury, 5th July). We are informed, of course, that these three new roles are at no... Read more...

Costing THE pUBLIC

West Bromwich doesn’t have much to boast of these days; it has no cinema, no theatre, no swimming pool and the shopping centre is tumbledown. Sandwell, the local authority, only received one star in the latest CPA Council Ratings (2006) and the area is right at the bottom of the... Read more...

EU tries to raise taxes in Britain...again

Not content with import taxes which raise the price of food and clothing imported from outside the EU, nor with abortive plans to introduce an EU tax, the bureaucrats in Brussels are at it again. This time it's VAT. The European Commission is calling for VAT rates to be harmonised... Read more...

Concerns over Conservative economic policy

Two interesting pieces have appeared in the last few days on Gordon Brown and David Cameron's approaches to taxation and the economy.Firstly, Fraser Nelson wrote in last week's Spectator:"During what passed for Labour’s leadership campaign, Mr Brown was asked why he would not raise the top rate of income tax.... Read more...

Latest Public Administration Disaster

“The reform of the Child Support Agency has been one of the greatest public administration disasters of recent times.The facts speak for themselves. More than one in three non-resident parents fail to pay any of the money they owe, amounting to £3.5 billion in uncollected maintenance. Around 230,000 of the... Read more...

The Public Accounts Committee on the Child Support Agency

The Public Accounts Committee today reported on the disastrous history of the Child Support Agency.  By October 2006, one in four applications for maintenance received by the Agency in 2003 were still waiting to be cleared, there was a backlog of a quarter of a million cases and around 36,000... Read more...

Alan Johnson to review Healthcare

The Telegraph is not impressed by the review of the NHS that the new Health Secretary Alan Johnson has launched: "The "once-in-a-generation review" he launched yesterday, to be undertaken by the distinguished surgeon Sir Ara Darzi, now a health minister, appears to be aimed at soothing the ruffled feathers of... Read more...

A gimmick or real local democracy?

We can be forgiven for being a bit sceptical about Gordon Brown’s initiative to make local spending subject to local ballots.The idea is welcome and it’s high time the people had a say over where their council tax is spent.  Given the record of this government, however, we’re minded to... Read more...

Costing THE pUBLIC

West Bromwich doesn’t have much to boast of these days; it has no cinema, no theatre, no swimming pool and the shopping centre is tumbledown. Sandwell, the local authority, only received one star in the latest CPA Council Ratings (2006) and the area is right at the bottom of the... Read more...

Alistair Darling promises stability

In an interview today with the Financial Times Alistair Darling responded to calls for change in the tax treatment of private equity firms.  He said that he would "always strive in making change to try and make the [tax] system simpler" but would not make populist changes to capital gains... Read more...

Gordon Brown's constitutional tinkering won't restore trust in government

When Ken Clarke's Democracy Taskforce reported recently the TaxPayers' Alliance wrote for ConservativeHome: "Unmanageable departments combined with inexperienced and short term leadership produces dismally bad performance. This is what erodes people’s trust in politics. People are right not to trust the modern British state to fulfil all of the functions... Read more...

Non-job of the week

This week’s Guardian treasure-trove comes up with a gem of a non-job.  Charnwood borough council has advertised for a ‘director of change management’.  Paying this non-jobber £69,000 a year for ‘change’ not only means constant change within the council but highlights that something isn’t right in the first place.  If... Read more...