Research papers

Public sector furlough

Introduction From the outset of the covid-19 pandemic, the government has supported employed people through the job retention scheme. This furlough scheme effectively covered the salaries of employees, on the strict condition that they were not able to work while receiving it. Organisations which receive taxpayers’ money for their staffing... Read more...

Flights of fancy

Introduction The UK became the first major economy to commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. Combined with the United Nations climate change conference to be held in Glasgow this November, this suggests a clear desire by HM Government to reduce emissions, including through air travel.... Read more...

Briefing: 10p plastic bag charge in England

Overview: In England, there has been a charge of 5p for a single use carrier bag (SUCB) since October 2015. This applies only to large retailers with more than 250 employees. From 21 May 2021, this charge will be increased to 10p and apply to all retailers in England. The... Read more...

Local authority printing costs 2021

Key findings: Local authorities across the UK spent £41,610,366 on printing costs between April 2020 and February 2021. This is a decline of £31.9 million from 2019-20, or 43 per cent. The council that spent the most was Aberdeenshire, at £1,248,827. The council that spent the least was Chorley, at... Read more...

Briefing: covid-19 hospitality VAT cut

Overview: While all businesses have been affected to some extent by covid-19, some of the worst hit have been the pubs, restaurants, cafes, bars, and hotels that make up the hospitality industry. When they have been able to open, many have had to implement costly and disruptive practices to mitigate... Read more...

Town Hall Rich List 2021

Introduction Town Hall Rich List 2021 marks the 14th version of this list, first compiled in 2007. For the past 14 years the TaxPayers’ Alliance has assembled the most comprehensive list of council employees in the UK in receipt of over £100,000 in total remuneration. For the average (band D)... Read more...

Fiscal challenges facing an independent Scotland

Introduction   With Scottish independence now back on the table, Scottish taxpayers will be wondering what impact such a move could have on the country’s fiscal position. The Scottish government’s fiscal framework is currently managed in agreement with HM Treasury. This underpins the tax and welfare spending powers that have... Read more...

Briefing: the real national debt

The chancellor recently unveiled his budget for the coming financial year. The figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility showed the national debt will increase to £2.5 trillion next year.[1] Yet this is only part of the picture with regard to the UK’s debt.A fuller picture of the UK government’s... Read more...

Calculating the number of tax changes since 2010

Introduction The Conservative party’s record on tax policy is contested. Previous research found that the Conservative government of Winston Churchill cut the tax burden as a proportion of GDP by more than any other postwar prime minister.[1] The 2019 Conservative manifesto promised that “Conservatives want to give you freedom –... Read more...

Statistical analysis of secondary school spending

Introduction The Department for Education started publishing schools’ spending data for England almost 10 years ago. In that time there have been significant changes in education, not least the conversion of most secondary schools from maintained ones into academies. Over 500 free schools are now open across every region of... Read more...

A recovery budget for Rishi

Executive summary Due to the coronavirus crisis, many businesses have been ordered to close for much of the past year, while many others have had to implement costly and disruptive practices to mitigate the virus. Unemployment has been kept in check by furloughing ten million jobs, while economic output has... Read more...

Briefing: sustained tax burden at highest level since 1951

In 2021-22 the share of GDP extracted in tax, the ‘tax burden’, will reach its highest level in 52 years at 34.2 per cent of GDP. The previous high was a one-year spike in 1969-70. Smoothing out volatility with five-year averages shows the tax burden is now at its highest... Read more...

Briefing: the cost of MPs in 2019-20

Overview: The total cost of members of parliament was £127.6m in the 2019-20 financial year according to figures released today by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA). This was a 6.47 per cent increase on the £119.9 million spent in 2018-19. Britain’s most expensive sitting MP was speaker Sir Lindsay... Read more...

Well accommodated: University vice-chancellors’ residences

Introduction University vice-chancellors are handsomely paid for their work, with an average salary of over £250,000. In addition to these bumper salaries, they are sometimes also afforded additional perks, including residences with their own staff. In contrast, many students undertaking courses at their institutions are going on rent strikes because... Read more...

Assessing an online sales tax

Online taxes have been in place in many parts of the world for a number of years. They are used to try and level the playing field between online and traditional businesses. This paper provides a literature review of online taxes in India, France and the USA. This assesses the... Read more...

Councillors’ allowances 2020

Introduction Many councillors in local government across the UK receive modest allowances appropriate to the work they do representing taxpayers. Yet while many councillors’ workload is extensive, there are rarely appropriate metrics used in the determination of pay. People who live just miles apart from each other may be represented... Read more...

War on Waste investigation

Our landmark War on Waste investigation with the Daily Mail, published in November 2020, exposed £5.6 billion of wasted taxpayers' money. A breakdown, by area, of wasteful spending can be found below:   Read more...

Save to spend

Executive summary The need to balance the government’s books in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic can only mean one of two fiscal policies: spending restraint or tax rises. A significantly weakened economy and the fact that recent increases in the tax burden have already created the highest burden in... Read more...

University Rich List 2020

Introduction Student loan debt ballooned to £140 billion at the end of March 2020. The government forecasts that this will reach £560 billion by the middle of this century. Combined with the fact that the government also predicts that only 25 per cent of current full-time undergraduate students who take... Read more...

Points-based public appointments

Foreword by Douglas Carswell   Do you ever get the feeling that it doesn’t really matter who you vote for because the same sort of people end up in charge? Does it sometimes feel as if key positions in public life always go to the same kind of well-connected quangocrats?Often... Read more...

Kicked into the long grass: the cost of public inquiries

Introduction Public inquiries are a way to scrutinise serious events that have occurred and hold people and organisations to account on a large range of issues. While important in certain circumstances, inquiries are sometimes seen as a way for politicians to avoid tricky issues. Public inquiries have become common in... Read more...

Briefing: changes to duty free shopping in January 2021

Overview: The government announced in September 2020 that from January 2021, duty free purchases will be extended to British passengers travelling to EU countries. However, tax-free sales in airports of some goods – such as electronics and clothing – will end for passengers travelling to non-EU countries. Such a change... Read more...

An analysis of OECD statistics on health expenditure and financing

IntroductionThe Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) annually publishes comparative health expenditure and financing statistics for member nations. Expressed in monetary terms and as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) or healthcare expenditure, they are often referenced when comparing the performance and medical outcomes of different international healthcare... Read more...

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