Shortly before the last General Election, the TaxPayers’ Alliance produced a manifesto. Here is the latest in our series of posts looking at how the Coalition Government has performed in relation to our recommendations.
Our Manifesto called for action in several areas.
A strengthened EU FOI law: We haven't seen the Government make any real efforts on this. As far as the EU itself is concerned it has failed to update its current rules regarding access to documents. In 2011 a report berated the EU for "a missed opportunity... to adapt to modern standards of open administration." In some ways the EU has become more opaque - organisations have recently complained that new obstacles have been introduced to try and prevent people accessing information.
Changes to development aid: We give lots of money in overseas aid through institutions like the EU. We still focus far too much on inputs, and not enough on outcomes. We need to change this attitude, in both bilateral and multilateral assistance.
Improvements in scrutiny in the British parliament: Parliament has done well here - the European Scrutiny Committee in particular. A Lords report on the role of national parliaments in the EU also called for more scrutiny here in the UK.
The Government should also undertake a full cost-benefit analysis on EU membership: The Government did introduce the 'Balance of Competences' - a major review of where power lies between Britain and the EU. It has come to an end recently, but it has been seen as a missed opportunity and a bureaucratic nightmare.