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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...

Armed Forces struggling to cope with overstretch

The Telegraph today: "The report declares: "The impact of continuous downsizing, pressures and overstretch is affecting the [defence] department's ability to retain and provide a satisfactory life for Armed Forces personnel." It stresses that in the past six years, the Services have been operating above the most demanding level of... Read more...

Low pass rate feared with new vocational diploma

In the Telegraph today we learn that there are fears for the new vocational diplomas that the government is looking to introduce.  Apparently the requirement that students emerge functionally literature and numerate is asking a little too much.Alan Johnson, the last education secretary, warned earlier this year that the vocational... Read more...

George Osborne gives advice to new Chancellor

In an interesting op-ed in the Observer, the Shadow Chancellor had plenty of advice for Alistair Darling, as he takes over the reins at the Treasury. In one of the key parts of the article, Mr Osborne wrote: “Britain's businesses will be held back so long as we have some... Read more...

Grade Inflation can't be fixed by new grades

When governments look to fight hyper-inflation a common strategy has been to issue a new currency. The idea is that the new currency will restore credibility and signal a break from the past.  Today it has been announced that the government is trying to do something similar in an attempt... Read more...

Poor priorities in our prisons

It’s been a good month for prisoners.  First came the news that dozens will be released early to ease on overcrowding.  Then there was even better news that those on early-release would get a £200 goodbye, courtesy of the taxpayer.  But today there’s consolation for those still behind bars -... Read more...

Weekly Waste Round-Up 65

In the news this week:Tour de France costs us £6.8m- "The 94th race will have its "Grand Départ" in London on Saturday... Starting the tour in Britain has cost £6.8 million, including a £1.5 million fee for the event's organisers. Transport for London has stumped up £3.2 million and the... Read more...

Brown's pensions raid has also cost savers

New calculations by Mike Warburton and Maurice Fitzpatrick at Grant Thornton are yet more evidence of the damage that has been done by Gordon Brown's removal of tax credits on dividends. They show that an estimated three million investors in personal equity plans (PEPs) and equity-based individual savings accounts (ISAs)... Read more...

Weekly Waste Round-Up 61

In the news recently:NHS negligence cost us £4bn- "BRITAIN could have had 16 giant new hospitals - if doctors had not made so many cock-ups. NHS chiefs have used £4BILLION of taxpayers' cash in clinical negligence costs since 1997. And that would have been enough to build at least 16... Read more...