The past year has been another stellar year for the TPA, even if it hasn’t been a great year for taxpayers. We’ve once again revealed massive amounts of wasted government spending and have held the public sector to account at every level. Here are our 12 highlights of the year.
1. Revealing the cost and influence of global quangos
We all know about the issues caused by quangos at home - from HMRC to the DVLA. But sitting above the government are a range of global organisations, global quangos, that cost taxpayers huge amounts of money and exert increasing influence. Well this year their activities have been truly exposed. Our Global Quangos Uncovered Factbook highlighted the vast amounts given to different international organisations such as the World Bank and World Health Organisation.
2. Working hard to keep councils full-time
One of the many concerning trends this year was the emergence of the four-day week in the public sector. Fortunately the TPA was quickly on the case launching our “stop the clock off” campaign. Our campaign saw success after success, including forcing a climbdown by Bassetlaw and prompting the government to take action against south Cambridgeshire, which has truly gone rogue with its mad experiment, alongside hard-hitting research that was mentioned at prime minister’s questions.
3. Another year of hard-hitting TPA research
TPA research hit the headlines once again this year. Our report on the growth in the size of the civil service hit the front page of The Telegraph, while our report, Mandarin Millionaires, revealed the number of top bureaucrats with million-pound pension pots. And that wasn’t all. TPA researchers also highlighted the enormous increase in the size of the council tax burden.
4. Green shoots at the autumn statement?
Taxpayers saw some concrete wins at the autumn statement, with a number of core TPA wins. National insurance was cut by 2p and alcohol duty was frozen. But we left the chancellor in no doubt that there was more to do, pointing out that the tax burden is still heading for a record high.
5. The Single Income Tax
In 2012 we published our landmark Single Income Tax paper, calling for a radical simplification of the tax system. It’s quickly become one of the foundational documents for those arguing for a simpler, more efficient, less burdensome taxation system. This year, we published an update to our paper, restating the case.
6. Town hall rich list/ roadshow
Unlike most groups in Westminster, we love to get out on the ground and talk to residents up and down the country about the issues in their local area. And with our Town Hall Rich List this year revealing that more than 2,700 council officials received over £100,000 in 2022/23, there was certainly something to talk about! The TPA team could be found in Guildford, Sheffield, Cardiff and Sunderland among other places talking to people about the state of their council.
7. Standing up for residents in Arundel
Wherever there is a council thinking of doing something bonkers, you can be sure that the TPA will be keeping a close eye. When Arun district council announced plans for a luxury bed and breakfast in the town of Arundel and funded by taxpayers, we knew action was needed. We hit the doorsteps on multiple days and collected hundreds of signatures on a letter to council bosses, playing our part in the decision by the council to scrap the mad scheme.
8. Fascinating discussions on TPA Talks
The TPA’s podcast, TPA Talks, was filled with illuminating conversations with an excellent range of guests, from Kevin O’Sullivan and Emma Webb discussing woke Whitehall, to Emma McClarkin of the British Beer and Pub Association discussing pubs, pints and politics.
9. ThinkTent 2023
Talking of interesting speakers, our ThinkTent at Conservative Party Conference was chock full of them. We had debates and discussions on topics ranging from how to drive economic growth, to migration, free speech and local government. Full recordings of these panel discussions can be viewed here.
10. Exposing work from beach
We’re no longer surprised when we find dodgy working practices in the public sector. At least until our investigative team uncovered that 1,300 council staff had been given permission to work from abroad, in places such as Spain, Australia and Dubai. No wonder these findings hit the front page of the Daily Mail.
11. War on Waste campaign
This year was another bumper year for our War on Waste campaign. The TPA’s investigative team, when not exposing the work from beach scandal, revealed that hundreds of iPads have been lost by London Ambulance staff, the NHS is wasting millions on empty buildings, and councils are funding internet expenses for staff. That’s only the start of it!
12. Making the case on the airwaves
The TPA are never afraid to hit the airwaves to make the case for a smaller state, lower taxes, and more efficient government. Our head of campaigns Elliot Keck could be found on Politics Live, LBC and ITV, while our media campaign manager Conor Holohan was also never far from your screens, appearing on channels including GB News and Sky News this year. Our new head of research was immediately touring the studios, appearing on BBC Radio 2. Our digital campaign manager Joe Ventre was also not a stranger to broadcast, appearing on TalkTV among other places.