Research papers

Briefing: tax burdens and elections

Analysis of 50 years of election results and tax burden data up to 2024-25,[1] when the next election must occur, shows that governments which raise tax burdens are less likely to win elections. Tax policy should not be determined by the electoral calendar but this research demonstrates that voters do... Read more...

Briefing: rising number of people paying income tax

In the 2021 Budget the then chancellor, Rishi Sunak, froze the personal allowance and higher rate income tax thresholds from 2021-22 until 2025-26[1]. This freeze was extended to 2027-28 and the additional rate threshold cut from £150,000 to £125,140 in 2023-24 by Jeremy Hunt in the 2022 Autumn Statement.[2] These... Read more...

TaxPayers' Alliance submission to budget consultation

Executive summary The growing problem of the tax burden should be properly addressed with a tax burden strategy which sets a long-term target of 30.3 per cent of GDP, matching the average tax burden imposed in the 1990s. The basic rate of income tax should be cut to 18 per... Read more...

Taxes, growth and the tax burden

Executive summary The tax burden is at the highest level since the 1940s and growth has been lacklustre. Growth can refer to a change between one steady state and another, any change between two levels of output or a change that occurs over a period longer than a business cycle.... Read more...

Briefing: increases in local authority sales, fees and charges

Local authorities raise revenue in several ways including council tax, grants from central government, and business rates. Some also fund services through sales, fees, and charges (SFC), including charges on essential services such as waste removal and birth, death, and marriage registrations (including proof of life documents). Over time, taxpayers... Read more...

Nanny state Christmas feast

For millions around the UK, Christmas Day is the family event of the year, a day of relaxation, celebration and indulgence – with Christmas dinner being the centre piece of this annual festival. But can such merriment be accommodated by nannying public health officials? NHS guidance currently recommends that adult... Read more...

Estimate: The cost of the covid inquiry

Key findings An inquiry into the handling of the coronavirus pandemic was formally established on 28 June 2022. [1] It is estimated that witnesses are expected to finish giving evidence by June 2026. [2] The Covid Inquiry has already cost over £56 million up to 30 September 2023. [3], [4] This already makes... Read more...

Briefing: the cost of the proposed smoking ban

Executive summary Tobacco duties are forecast to raise £8.9 billion in 2023-24[1] For every year until 2028-29 the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts that the amount raised by tobacco duties will be around £9 billion[2] The cost of smoking per year to the NHS and social care sector is... Read more...

Briefing: bankrupt councils’ tax increases

Key findings Nottingham and Birmingham city councils have both issued Section 114 notices, an effective declaration of bankruptcy.[1],[2] Nottingham city council is forecast to have an overspend of £23 million in the financial year 2023-24.[3] Birmingham city council has a budget shortfall of £87 million in 2023-24.[4] Recent Section 114... Read more...

Mandarin millionaires: civil service pension pots

Introduction Public sector pensions are one of the government’s largest liabilities reaching £2.3 trillion in 2020-21.[1] This was more than 100 per cent of GDP in 2020-21, the first time it has reached this level.[2] The civil service operates an ‘unfunded’ scheme accounting for £339 billion of this total, which... Read more...

The Single Income Tax: 2023 update

Executive summary The Single Income Tax was published in 2012 and is a proposal to fundamentally reform Britain’s tax system, replacing a complex swathe of direct taxes with a single tax on all income charged at a single rate of 30 per cent.   READ THE FULL RESEARCH PAPER  ... Read more...

Global Quangos Uncovered factbook

In November 2023, the TaxPayers' Alliance published this factbook for the Global Quangos Uncovered campaign.   Foreword British politicians have for many years talked about a ‘bonfire of the quangos’, but whether or not they’ve managed to get that bonfire going, less attention has been paid the web of global... Read more...

Options for business rates reform

Non-domestic rates, commonly known as business rates, are a tax on the annual rental value of most non-domestic properties. Business rates, along with the community charge (or ‘poll tax’), were established in 1990 to replace the rates system. Rates were set out in the Poor Law 1572 and General Rate... Read more...

Never enough: how the UK is sold short by global quangos

Introduction UK taxpayers spend billions each year on aid, over half of which typically goes to global quangos like the United Nations. However, it is never enough for quangocrats, who have often accused the UK of falling short when it comes to human rights obligations, aid spending, and even domestic... Read more...

Britain’s council tax burdens

Introduction This research compares average band D council tax for the year 2023-24 against house prices and median gross pay in the local authority areas of Great Britain. Many of the trends identified in an earlier TPA study in 2021 have continued, with far higher burdens facing those in the... Read more...

The civil service: a growing problem

NOTE: The original version of this research paper stated that the top three grade levels receive between £73,000 and £208,100. This has now been corrected.   Introduction Between 2016 and 2023 the number of civil servants increased by 101,440, a jump of 24.2 per cent and the largest increase in at least... Read more...

Local authority productivity

Introduction South Cambridgeshire District Council has been trialling a four-day working week for council staff, with no loss of salary or benefits. The council leaders claim that staff will still be able to complete the work they are contracted to do in five days, in 20 per cent less time.... Read more...

The cost of global quangos

Introduction Each year the UK spends billions on ‘Official Development Assistance’ (ODA), generally known as foreign aid. Part of this aid budget is given to multilateral bodies, or ‘global quangos’. These organisations work with governments worldwide to promote international co-ordination on issues of importance. Notable examples include the World Health... Read more...

Thirty years of council tax

NOTE: The original version of this research paper stated that Nottingham had increased its council tax in cash terms more than any other English local authority since 1993. This has now been corrected.   Introduction Council tax – the tax on domestic property in England, Scotland and Wales – was... Read more...

Public sector four-day week

Introduction There are increasing demands coming from campaigners, unions and public sector workers to move to a four-day working week of just 32 hours, with no loss of pay. In this note we set out the value of working time lost if the whole of the public sector adopted this... Read more...

Town Hall Rich List 2023

Introduction Town Hall Rich List 2023 marks the 16th version of this research, first compiled in 2007. For the past 16 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...

Non-jobs in the public sector

Introduction Public sector bodies have a responsibility to ensure that taxpayers’ money is spent wisely and that public funds are used to employ people in jobs that are of real value to taxpayers. Unfortunately, there exists a vast web of state-funded bodies engaged in unnecessary activism, from police forces promoting... Read more...

Long-term challenges for the tax system

Executive summary Society and the economy are always changing. Laws and regulations need to evolve, too, to avoid becoming redundant and out of date. That applies to tax just as much as other areas of life. This note considers how ten tax groups are particularly at risk of failing to... Read more...

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