Blog

Should the government scrap its foreign aid commitment?

Bill Gates has hit the headlines today by warning the prime minister not to abandon the government’s 0.7 per cent spending commitment to overseas aid. This morning, I spoke to Julia Hartley-Brewer on TalkRadio about why Bill Gates is wrong. Mr Gates is an exceptionally generous philanthropist and plans to... Read more...

Why the probate fees rise is a stealth tax

  If it looks, sounds, feels and tastes like a tax, then sure enough it is a tax no matter what the Ministry of Justice wants to call it. In its latest report, the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments dealt a major blow to the planned increases in probate fees... Read more...

Biomessy: fringe groups hijacking the energy debate

I attended an event in Parliament in December, where an associate fellow from Chatham House was speaking at a debate on the role of biomass in the energy sector. Duncan Brack is a former Special Advisor for Chris Huhne when Mr Huhne was the Secretary of State at the Department... Read more...

Concerns on HS2's conflicts of interest brought to Parliament

With almost everyone’s focus on Brexit yesterday, it could have easily been missed that CH2M, one of HS2’s engineering firms, had to withdraw from part of the project due to conflict of interest concerns raised by the TPA and others. CH2M have been working with HS2 Ltd since 2012 and... Read more...

Management of the defence estate

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (“the PAC”) has yesterday published its findings on the management of the defence estate – land belonging to the Ministry of De-fence (“the MoD”) estimated to cover 1.8 per cent of UK’s landmass and currently valued at £31 billion, making it one of... Read more...

'The impact of business rate changes' panel discussion

Last night we hosted a panel discussion on an issue that has dominated the news agenda for the past few weeks: business rates. It was a thought-provoking evening, as our chair, Alex Wild, conveyed quite aptly when he wrapped the night up with "well, this has been an interesting discussion... Read more...

Cardiff raise Council Tax by 3.7%

Council Tax has been a burden on thousands of families throughout Cardiff, with taxpayers from all walks of life seeing their bills increase annually with little to no improvement to the frontline services. This year the Local Authority have proposed a further increase of 3.7% on a typical band D... Read more...

A dedicated 'NHS' tax

Sky News have commissioned a poll that says 2/3 people would be willing to pay more income tax if the increase was guaranteed for the NHS. There is also a debate in the British Medical Journal about such a proposal. However, these proposals are seriously misguided and should be resisted... Read more...

Hodge-Bodge: Surrey County Council’s Referendum Farce

Two days ago, I attended Surrey’s County Council’s debate on their proposed Council Tax referendum. According to Council Leader David Hodge before the meeting, they had no choice but to raise council tax by 15 per cent and trigger a referendum to approve that decision. We have written before about the failings... Read more...

Making the taxman work for the taxpayer

This is a guest post written for the TaxPayers' Alliance by Dominic Raab MP. The UK tax code is too long and complex. That has facilitated tax avoidance, undermined UK competitiveness and led to the taxman (HMRC) acquiring arbitrary powers. This report sets out five proposals to simplify the tax... Read more...