Our history

The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) was launched by Matthew Elliott and Andrew Allum in early 2004 to speak for ordinary taxpayers fed up with government waste, increasing taxation, and a lack of transparency in all levels of government. No party was standing up for taxpayers and nearly all politicians were committed to bigger government, higher spending and secretive deals behind closed doors.

The TPA sought to challenge this status quo. The United States, Germany, France and Italy all had groups dedicated to defending taxpayers against new taxes, exposing waste and putting forward the case for spending restraint. The TPA was set up to ensure that British taxpayers were no longer ignored by politicians.

The financial crisis in 2008-9 focused minds on how government was spending taxpayers’ money. Politicians were forced to face the consequences of years of unrestrained public spending and unsustainable levels of debt. Many of the policies we recommended were implemented, including a public sector pay freeze, the abolition of many quangos, an end to local government sponsored lobbying, and extensive welfare reform. We ensured that spending decisions were transparent and that taxpayers were not unfairly forced to bear the consequences of politicians’ mistakes.

You can read all about our first 15 years here. 


The importance of our message was recognised at an early stage. In 2006 we won the ConservativeHome ‘One to Watch’ award, and the Bumper Book of Government Waste was given the Atlas Sir Antony Fisher Memorial Award in 2007. In December 2007, the TPA won the Stockholm Network’s prestigious Golden Umbrella Award for Innovation and in 2008 was named ‘Pressure Group of the Year’ by the readers of Iain Dale’s Diary. In 2010, the TPA was awarded the Atlas Templeton Freedom Award for Initiative in Public Relations for pioneering work on public sector fiscal transparency. We went on to win the same award in 2012 for our ongoing campaigning on the taxpayer funding of trade unions. 

In November 2013, we won two more prestigious honours. Public Affairs News recognised the success of MashBeerTax with their “Best In-House Campaign of the Year” award.  On the same evening, the Atlas Network in America announced that a distinguished panel of judges – including Arthur Brooks from the American Enterprise Institute and author Johan Norberg – had awarded the TPA the Templeton Freedom Award for the 2020 Tax Commission’s final report The Single Income Tax.

Announcing the award, Atlas CEO Brad Lips said that the

“TaxPayers’ Alliance has become such a force of nature in a relatively short amount of time. From impeccable research to clear messaging, they've really raised the bar for think tanks.”

Most recently, we were named 18th best advocacy think tank and 26th top transparency and good governance think tank in the world in the 2018 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report.