Research papers

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...

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...

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience.  More info. Okay