Research papers

Mod cons for dons

Introduction When representing their universities, vice-chancellors are sometimes required to attend external functions and meetings related to their role. But such activities do not necessitate the leasing or buying of high-end vehicles to transfer around university leaders on campuses or elsewhere. Most business leaders or heads of large organisations use... Read more...

War on Waste: Woke Whitehall

Introduction Wasting taxpayers’ money on ‘woke’ campaigns is not a new phenomena, with civil servants in the past being sent on diversity training at a cost of £2,000 per person, including ‘awareness workshops’.[1] But mandarins should take great care not to let the pursuit of sensitive social justice causes see... Read more...

Briefing: take-up rates of covid-19 business loans

Overview: In response to the social distancing and ‘lockdown’ measures put in place to combat covid-19, the chancellor introduced the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS). It was set up to offer loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), for firms with annual turnover of up to £45 million. 80... Read more...

Town Hall Rich List 2020

Introduction The 2020 edition of the Town Hall Rich List marks the 13th version of this list, first compiled in 2007. For the past 13 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... Read more...

War on Waste: Anti-eco civil service

Introduction Wasteful spending by the civil service is not a new phenomenon. The TaxPayers’ Alliance has released numerous reports on this subject, most notably the Bumper Book of Government Waste.[1] Politicians have also drawn attention to the misuse of taxpayer’s money, with the Rt. Hon. Dame Margaret Hodge – the... Read more...

Briefing note: responding to covid-19

In light of the coronavirus (covid-19) outbreak, there has been massive government intervention undertaken to tackle the public health emergency and prevent the economy from collapsing. The measures which have been announced are highly damaging to the public finances and involve troubling interventions in the economy and the daily lives... Read more...

War on Waste: Civil service newspapers

Introduction It is not surprising that government departments have subscriptions to most national newspapers. These subscriptions are one way in which civil servants are alert to public views and opinions. However, this does not mean that departments should spend a limitless amount on subscriptions to the same newspaper. With the... Read more...

Taxpayer funded lobbying and political campaigning 2020

The UK has a wealth of organisations operating in civil society. Many of these, like the TaxPayers’ Alliance and Greenpeace, survive with no taxpayers’ money, only existing thanks to generous donations from private individuals and groups.[1],[2] Yet there are many such organisations that take taxpayers’ money, and then often call... Read more...

One big hit: fixing national insurance for good

Key findings The government plans to raise the employee national insurance threshold in April from £166 to £183 a week, equivalent to £9,500 a year, with an ‘ultimate ambition’ of £12,500 a year. This is welcome news for taxpayers, but implementing the entire change in one go would enable historic... Read more...

Local authority spending on settlement agreements

Introduction Settlement agreements are legally binding agreements between an employer and an employee that set out the terms surrounding the termination of employment. The purpose of settlement agreements is to resolve any disputes between the two parties that could not be resolved as part of internal procedures, and prevent future... Read more...

Briefing: public appointments

In 2018-2019 there were 1,844 public appointments and reappointments to quangos and NHS bodies in England and Wales. 8.6 per cent of all appointees and reappointees made in 2018-2019 declared significant political activity. Of these, 47.4 per cent were Labour party supporters, 31.6 per cent declared an affiliation to the... Read more...

The Nanny State Rich List 2020

Introduction The publication of our Nanny State Rich List in 2018 showed that the size and excess of public health organisations throughout the UK is increasing. Not merely content with implementing a punitive sugar tax on the population in 2018[1], there have been calls by the former England chief medical... Read more...

O’ Little Star: Council Christmas celebrities

Introduction The Christmas lights switch-on is an annual opportunity for communities to gather together and bring in the festive season. While these are community events, councils sometimes turn to celebrities to add some glamour, meaning a cost to the taxpayer for the fees of TV “stars”. This note shows that... Read more...

The tax on Christmas 2019

Introduction With rising inflation and the highest tax burden in 50 years, many households in the UK are struggling with the cost of living.1 Unfortunately, the joys of the festive season also bring additional pressures on household finances. Research from Deloitte shows that the average UK consumer intends to spend... Read more...

Mandarin millionaires: public sector pension pots

Introduction The senior civil servants who lead Whitehall government departments can look forward to some of the most generous retirement packages in the public sector, with a £24.5 million pension pot between them in 2018-19. This is a 22.8 per cent increase from 2017-18, when the pot was just below... Read more...

Briefing: post-war tax burdens by prime minister

Click here to download the briefing as a PDF   Higher tax burden under Boris Johnson (34.4 per cent) than any prime minister since Attlee. Further rise to 34.8 per cent by 2023-24 if Johnson re-elected. Term-average of 34.7 per cent. Corbyn to impose highest tax burden ever, at 37.9... Read more...

Wasting Monet? Local authority artworks

Introduction Local authorities own a significant amount of artwork. Museums, galleries and libraries are part of the public sector and often under the remit of their local authority. Some authorities’ pieces of art are of significant value. Local authority art collections extend far beyond galleries and museums, with only some... Read more...

Workplace parking levies

Executive summary A workplace parking levy is a local tax on employers who provide parking spaces to their employees. Nottingham has one already and Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds and Oxford are considering introducing them. Traffic levels initially fell after Nottingham introduced their levy but have since risen. Traffic counts were falling... Read more...

Raise the stamp duty threshold to £1 million

Introduction Stamp duty land tax (SDLT) is levied on property transactions above a threshold (£125,000 for residential properties and £150,000 for non-residential properties). By introducing another charge on homeowners to the already costly process of moving, SDLT means that for some people who might consider moving, the benefits no longer... Read more...

Raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1 million

Introduction Inheritance tax is levied on the estate of someone who has died. It applies to the value of the estate above the £325,000 threshold currently in place, and is charged at a single rate of 40 per cent. Exemptions currently in place include transfers between spouses and civil partners,... Read more...

No-deal peace package

Background The TaxPayers’ Alliance does not take a position on whether or not the United Kingdom should leave the European Union. However, it is important that in any possible situation arising from that decision taxpayers’ interests are represented. This note is therefore intended to suggest tax policy changes which, in... Read more...

University Rich List 2019

Introduction Universities are funded by both taxpayers and students (including graduates) directly. Because of this mixed form of funding, it often seems that the university sector is spared the scrutiny usually applied to other public sector institutions. In 2018, however, the Office for National Statistics re-classified student loans so that... Read more...

The Bumper Book of Burdens on Business

Introduction The United Kingdom consistently ranks towards the top of league tables in terms of ease of doing business. Many prime ministers and chancellors have recognised the importance of low taxes and light regulation in order to make the UK a competitive and attractive place to do business. In many... Read more...

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