Research papers

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...

NHS spending on interpreters and translation services

Introduction NHS service providers have an obligation to ensure interpreting and translation services are provided to their patients free at the point of delivery. This can be provided face-to-face, over the phone or via other means like video conference.[1] However, this can lead to exorbitant costs as a large range... Read more...

Stonewall subsidy 2023

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 years,... Read more...

Briefing: the true cost of rail subsidies

Key findings Forecasts indicate that rail services will be subsidised by £11 billion in the financial year 2022-23. The average rail fare in 2022-23 will be £6.12 per journey. An additional £7.51 in subsidy is required to make up the full cost of that journey. Increases in rail sector pay... Read more...

Briefing: public sector employment growth

Background: Headcount in the public sector in September 2022 was 5.769 million. This has increased every quarter since September 2018.[1] In relative terms, employment growth in the public sector continues to outpace that in the private sector: civil service employment grew at a rate four times faster than the private... Read more...

Spending on mayoral cars

Introduction Across the UK, local authorities have spent nearly £2.7 million on buying, leasing and maintaining cars for mayoral use over the last three financial years. Mayors (and equivalents such as chairmen and provosts) fulfil some ceremonial duties within their local authorities and serve as the ‘first citizen’. However, these... Read more...

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...

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