Research papers

Sickness absence in the public sector

Introduction Over the last 25 years, public sector workers have remained more likely to take sickness leave than those in the private sector. This has been the case every year since 1995[1] - the earliest year for which data is available. Equivalent public sector pay has also consistently remained higher... Read more...

An analysis of hospital estate spending in the English NHS

Background NHS England had operating expenditure of £125 billion in 2019-20.[1] The majority of NHS England’s budget goes on staffing, medical equipment and pharmaceuticals. But there is still an enormous amount (around £10.2 billion in 2020-21) spent on maintaining and running its buildings.[2] These are called the estate costs and... Read more...

Automation in the police forces of England and Wales

Introduction Automation in the police involves making it more efficient, allowing officers to complete paperwork quicker and return to frontline policing, and new technologies that can enhance the police’s ability to catch criminals and solve crimes. For instance, police forces around the United Kingdom already use crime prediction to ensure... Read more...

Briefing: the cost of air source heat pumps

Key findings: Air source heat pumps are alternatives to gas boilers and are part of HM Government’s net zero strategy. These could cost each household up to £18,000, with costs also including underfloor heating, air distribution systems or improved insulation. HM Government plans to provide £5,000 grants to some households from... Read more...

Town Hall Rich List 2022

Introduction Town Hall Rich List 2022 marks the 15th version of this research, first compiled in 2007. For the past 15 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 in a single financial year.... Read more...

Briefing: extended producer responsibility

Summary: Under proposed extended producer responsibility changes, the annual packaging waste management costs that producers will have to pay will be approximately £2.7 billion. It seems likely that impacted producers will have to increase prices for consumers, thereby increasing the cost of a weekly shop. If all affected producers across... Read more...

NHS trust spending on international recruitment

Introduction Currently, 40 per cent of doctors on the GMC register hold primary medical degrees from foreign universities.[1] Overseas recruitment campaigns are a short term tool for filling rota gaps. In 2019, NHS Improvement set a target of recruiting 5,000 foreign nurses every year until 2024.[2] The 2019 Conservative party... Read more...

Lifetime tax

Introduction The cost of living has become a major concern for taxpayers, with 56 per cent of the least well off voters naming it as their top issue in polling carried out by the TaxPayers’ Alliance.[1] This has only hastened with recent increases in inflation, which rose to 4.2 per... Read more...

Briefing: the cost of MPs in 2020-21

Overview: The total spend of members of parliament was £132.5 million in the 2020-21 financial year according to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA). This was a 4.6 per cent increase on the £126.7 million spent in 2019-20. Britain’s most expensive MP was the member for Broxtowe, Darren Henry, with... Read more...

Briefing: green tax burden

Background: Energy has become particularly costly in 2022 for a variety of reasons. A cold European winter in 2021 used up stored gas supplies.[1] Increased demand for energy in Asia means that gas is scarcer in the UK. These dramatically changing conditions have made it difficult for smaller suppliers to... Read more...

Nanny state Christmas feast

Christmas dinner is the family event of the year for many, regardless of the increasing interference from nannying public health officials. Strict guidelines endorsed by the NHS and other public health bodies set a daily limit of six grams of salt,[1] 30 grams of sugar[2] and 25 grams of saturated... Read more...

The tax on Christmas 2021

Introduction With rising inflation and the tax burden scheduled to reach a 73 year high, many households in the UK are struggling with the cost of living. Unfortunately, the joys of the festive season also bring additional pressures on household finances. Research from PwC shows that the average UK consumer intends... Read more...

Government office space

Introduction In March 2020, the government committed to moving 22,000 civil servants out of London by 2030. One of the benefits of moving civil servants out of London are that expenditures can be reduced by renting cheaper office space and fewer civil servants will receive the London weighting allowance. This... Read more...

Briefing: university strike action

Overview: Members of the University and College Union (UCU) have approved strike action in response to the latest dispute over the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). Since 2018, UCU members have engaged in at least 36 strike days. The total cost of the teaching time lost in strikes since 2018 is... Read more...

Briefing: the tax burden following the October 2021 budget

Next year, the share of GDP extracted in tax – the ‘tax burden’ – will reach its highest level in 53 years at 35.0 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 next year at... Read more...

Switching off: BBC and Channel 4

Executive summary Since their inceptions, the BBC and Channel 4 have had their futures guaranteed because of taxpayer ownership. The security afforded to them by this and their funding structures has allowed them to compete in the broadcasting market on an unfair basis. This paper assesses the options available for... Read more...

Council energy companies

Overview Local authorities’ budgets have changed substantially over the last ten years. Central government funding reductions have coincided with councils, since April 2013, retaining 50 per cent of business rates generated locally.[1][2] Councils have also sought other sources of income, such as investments in commercial property and energy companies. At... Read more...

Central government research funding

Introduction In March 2020, the chancellor announced a record increase in public investment for research and development (R&D) funding. This commitment will see taxpayer funding for R&D reach £22 billion per year by 2024-25, with an aim of public and private R&D spending equivalent to 2.4 per cent of GDP... Read more...

Public Sector Trade Union Rich List 2021

Please note:  The paper originally cited a news source claiming that Tim Roache was to be paid a lump sum of £500,000. The GMB has since contacted us to confirm that this is untrue. We have amended the relevant footnote on the paper accordingly and we apologise to the GMB.... Read more...

Briefing: distributional effects of the health and social care levy

Background: HM Government is planning to raise national insurance contributions (NICs) from April 2022 by 1.25 percentage points for employee, employer and self-employed national insurance. The purpose is two-fold: to meet demand for NHS backlogs (created because of covid-19) and for the provision of social care. In 2021-22, NICs are... Read more...

Stonewall subsidy: Diversity Champions scheme

Introduction Many charities and third sector organisations are reliant on public bodies for at least a portion of their revenue. Receiving taxpayers' money puts these organisations in a privileged position. Stonewall – the LGBTQ+ charity – is one such group. However, it has also received significant scrutiny in recent months,... Read more...

Briefing: Beer duty in Europe

Overview: At £0.53 per pint, the UK has the highest beer duty of any EU member country which England has played in Euro 2020. This is greater than Sweden’s; more than double Italy’s; more than triple Denmark’s; more than quadruple Croatia’s; and six times more than the Czech Republic’s. It... Read more...

Briefing: tapering of the coronavirus job retention scheme

Overview: The coronavirus job retention scheme (CJRS) has been available since 1 March 2020 and is due to finish at the end of September 2021. The objective of the CJRS is to allow employers to retain and pay staff by furloughing them at 80 per cent of their usual wages.... Read more...

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