Research papers

Briefing: cost of government crisis

The optimal economic role of the state is a fundamental question in politics. As public spending increases, the quality of services like health and education do not always increase commensurately, and the higher taxes we pay for public spending start to seriously undermine economic efficiency. This briefing presents statistics and... Read more...

The real tax burden

Introduction The Office for Budget Responsibility’s public finances databank provides a valuable tool to look at the tax burden, the ratio of national account taxes to gross domestic product (GDP). While the data provided on tax receipts is comprehensive, it necessarily measures only the burden of taxes actually paid over... Read more...

CORRECTION: Public Sector Trade Union Rich List 2022

Please note: The original research referred to UNISON's current general secretary. This has been corrected to refer to both the current and former general secretaries, and all entries for individuals have been removed.     Introduction Membership of trade unions – for both public and private sector workers – has... Read more...

Briefing - Fuel duty in Europe

Overview: At 53p a litre, the UK has the eighth highest fuel duty on petrol and the joint highest fuel duty on diesel compared with EU member states. This is higher than Sweden, over 70 per cent more than Germany, and almost double that paid by motorists in Hungary. Fuel... Read more...

Briefing: dynamic effects of business rates changes

Overview: In 2022-23, local authorities in England expect to generate £22.5 billion in receipts from non-residential rates (business rates).[1],[2] Abolishing or reducing business rates could ensure higher growth, investment spending and average weekly earnings. The existing system for business rates has been in place across Great Britain since the late... Read more...

Briefing: changes to stamp duty land tax

Background: Ahead of Friday’s mini-budget, HM Treasury is considering changes to stamp duty land tax (SDLT) as part of their growth plan.[1] The TaxPayers’ Alliance dynamic tax model shows that SDLT has a deleterious effect on growth, investment and average weekly earnings if the current system remains in place. The... Read more...

Mandarin millionaires: civil service pension pots

Introduction According to the latest accounts, the combined value of all public sector pension liabilities reached £2.19 trillion in 2019-20,[1] or over 95 per cent of GDP.[2] Public sector pensions are legally required to rise in line with the state pension[3], which will be an increase of 3.1 per cent... Read more...

Regional pay bargaining

Introduction Determining remuneration levels for all 5.7 million public sector jobs 1 is a complex, centralised process. Pay review boards – with ministerial approval – determine salaries for millions of public sector employees across the country. Limiting Whitehall’s responsibilities for setting pay could bringpotential advantages. Determining pay on a regional... Read more...

Public sector trade union facility time

Introduction Trade union representatives have been entitled to take time off to carry out union ‘duties’ since the Employment Protection Act of 1975. Under the same legislation, they are also entitled to unpaid time off to undertake union ‘activities’. Union duties and activities both fall under the remit of a... Read more...

Briefing: potential tax cuts

Background: Following the vote of no confidence in the prime minister on 6 June 2022, calls have been made for the government to introduce a change in economic and fiscal policy. In a cabinet meeting the day after the vote, the prime minister was reported as saying: "We will have... Read more...

Police and crime commissioners

Introduction Police and crime commissioners (PCCs) were established in 2011 by the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act. This was done in part to increase democratic accountability of English and Welsh police forces.[1] PCCs replaced the previous system of police authorities, with a few exceptions, including in Scotland and Northern... Read more...

Taxpayer funded lobbying and political campaigning 2022

Introduction Many organisations and charities which have a focus on public policy – such as the TaxPayers’ Alliance and Greenpeace – operate with no taxpayers’ money, relying solely on the donations of private individuals and groups., A great deal of others receive funding from public bodies. Despite benefitting from this,... Read more...

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...

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