David Cameron's pledge that the Conservatives will prioritise cutting the tax burden, in a speech this morning, is great news. It suggests that the Conservatives are taking seriously the need to the end the Great British Taxpayer Rip-off we identified in a report (PDF) last weekend:
"With the rising cost of living, taxpayers can't take any more pain indeed they want a government that can give them the prospect of relief. And our economy can't take any more pain without losing jobs to lower tax competitors.
£20 billion wasted on an NHS computer that still isn't working properly.
£2.3 billion spent refurbishing the offices of MOD civil servants.
And in one year alone nearly £2 billion of tax credits lost due to fraud and error.
These are outrageous examples of a spendaholic culture in government a culture that is the public sector equivalent of the reckless, debt-fuelled spending spree that Gordon Brown's policies have encouraged in the private sector. The level of government waste in our country today is evidence of an out-of-touch political elite who have forgotten whose money it is they're spending. Ministers who get in their offices and think 'great, now how can I spend lots of money.' People who have become so accepting of government waste that they assume it's just part of the job and that anyone who objects must be calling for "cuts.""
Political parties have to acknowledge that the time has come for reductions in the overall burden of tax. We have had revenue neutral shifts of every kind imaginable promised over the last few years and every one has either compromised Britain's competitiveness - making us all poorer in the long run - or directly hit ordinary people struggling to pay their bills.
That bind can be broken if the Conservatives, or any other party, confront the rising tide of ineffective and often downright wasteful public spending, some of which can be seen in the report we released today on quangos (PDF).