Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Battle Of Public Service Cuts

The Taxpayers’ Alliance produced an edited version of a film which demonstrates the wide range of jobs throughout the public sector which could be abolished without (they claim) 'any impact at all on front line services'. A good example of how it is hotting up in the iCampaign…

The other taxpayers alliance
Barely a day goes by without Chief Executive Matthew Elliott appearing in the media, representing the views of "ordinary taxpayers". The problem is that it isn't an alliance of ordinary taxpayers at all. It is an alliance of right-wing ideologues. Its academic advisory council is a who's who of the proponents of discredited Thatcherite policies.

Not everything the TPA says is wrong. Who could disagree with its commitment to "criticise all examples of wasteful and unnecessary spending", or to putting 2012 London Olympic spending under scrutiny? But the Alliance's concern for better public spending is a stepping stone to its desire for less public spending. And far from being a voice for "ordinary" taxpayers, its policies – opposing all tax rises (what, for everyone, in any circumstance?) and backing a flat rather than progressive tax – will increase inequality and shift wealth from poor to rich.

They also have links tothe Tories. For an organisation so concerned with transparency, the TaxPayers' Alliance is surprisingly opaque about its own finances. No list of donors is available.

The term ‘Alliance’ suggests that the TPA has some kind of democratic legitimacy, that it represents the voting public in some kind of genuine fashion. Indeed, it claims to be: ‘the guardian of taxpayers money, the voice of the taxpayer in the media and their representative at Westminster’. The Guardian had investigated the TPA’s sources for its £1m annual funding and discovered 60 per cent of it comprised donors giving £5000 or more to the Conservative Party. Moreover one of the group’s directors lives abroad and does not pay any UK tax.

The Greens see things differently. Caroline Lucas, MEP for the South East including Brighton, has said:"The last thing we need to be doing in the current economic climate is making cuts. What is needed is investment in public services, to make sure we get out - and stay out - of recession."


howard thomas said...

The Taxpayers Alliance is not a political party and doesn't have to tell anyone about its sources of funding. I have a friend whose niece works for them, and they spend a lot of time and effort digging up facts about wasted taxpayers money........lets face it , someone ought to be looking at it!
They have offices very close to Westminster and when MPs are passing by and see TPA staff on a break outside, their language would make you blush Adrian. The TPA folk take it as a compliment on a job well done!
This friend has looked at the backers of the TPA and has told me that there are some quite big hitters involved, but I don't have any names.
Anyone that exposes government wasting my money has my blessing, no matter what their politics.

Adrian Windisch said...

Calling for transparency and then being secret about there backers. Some call that hypocrisy.

Nothing wrong with calling MPs to account but it works both ways.

howard thomas said...

MP's are costing public money....the taxpayers alliance is not...thats the difference!
The TPA do a lot of good work in my opinion, exposing the vast waste in the spending of your and my taxpayers money.
This is a bad thing?

Adrian Windisch said...

If they turn out to be a front for the Tories it puts their activities in a different light.

I said in my post 'Not everything the TPA says is wrong. Who could disagree with its commitment to "criticise all examples of wasteful and unnecessary spending", or to putting 2012 London Olympic spending under scrutiny?'

howard thomas said...

Adrian.....even if they did turn out to be a "front for the Tories", would it really be such a bad thing if Cameron and co were to have this type of info with regard to where to make the savings that we all know have to be made!Its obviously not just the Tories that have access to this info,its there for all to see.
£100 billion on quangos.......I know where I would swing the axe first if I had the opportunity!

Adrian Windisch said...

I know where I would 'swing the axe' as you put it; nuclear weapons, id cards, expanding airports and motorways. Then there is the subsidy for arms exports eg BAE.

Some Quangoes do good, it would damage the country to throw them all out. Be a bit more selective.

Incidentally I saw your yellow submarine on a website yesterday, have you declared that as an election expense?

howard thomas said...

Did anyone say all Quangos....but if it was down to me I think there could be a minimum 50% at least £50 billion!

How can you declare an election expense when we are not in an election period ?

Adrian Windisch said...

I would rather say judge them individually, keep the good ones, chuck the bad ones.

We are in the 'long' election period. I suggest you ask electoral services.

howard thomas said...

Oddly enough , thats what I'm saying.....not cull them all ,but close down those that are not necessary and cut back others.

As for the election period, do wake up Adrian, you can't be in an election period until one is called!

Adrian Windisch said...

Check your facts before you hurl insults.


howard thomas said...

Fair enough Adrian ...we are in the long period, but there is no need to declare anything as yet.
While you are in nitpicking mode ,perhaps you should read the section that deals with 'party campaign expenditure'.
I have no worries at all that we will be well inside any limits set the electoral commission.
As for 'hurling insults' try this one......the first quango that I would cut back would be the Carbon Trust with its average £70,000 salary.......and top salary or circa £220,000.......

Adrian Windisch said...

You have already said you would cut them, and I have said they do a good job.

So you admit I am correct about election expenses, thats something. Not nitpicking, just asking a question, up to you if you answer.

howard thomas said...

I guess there is a first time for everything!
As for declaring expenses,obviously they will be declared as and when necessary......we could hardly hide a yellow submarine!