To commemorate the first anniversary of the Coalition, the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) has issued a “briefing” on how the Government is measuring up to the TPA’s criteria. This is a staggeringly pretentious move from an Astroturf lobby group that represents less than one tenth of one per cent of all taxpayers, but senior non-job holder Matthew Sinclair says the TPA “will continue fighting to defend the interests of ordinary taxpayers” [my emphasis].
But, for the moment, I’ll cut Sinclair some slack, and take him at his word, while looking at the “briefing”, where the TPA marks a variety of Government actions out of five. And the very first item on the TPA list is “Scrap the 50p tax rate”, on which it gives only 1 out of 5, as it’s not yet been scrapped.
FACT: the 50p tax rate affects just one per cent of income tax payers.
Then there is “Abolish Inheritance Tax”, on which the Government scores zero out of five. The TPA clearly sets great store by this.
FACT: in 2007, Inheritance Tax only affected 6% of estates.
Hmmm. Well, what about transport? Sadly, the TPA is still banging on about the cost of high speed rail, while not conceding that its urge to “refocus transport spending” will still carry a cost. And, as I’ve noted previously, they won’t willingly allocate a cost to road congestion, and their alternative to high speed rail won’t work.
So the zero out of five might more appropriately be given to the TPA, not the Government.
Ah, but then there is Europe, an issue on which the TPA can major, knowing it is on home turf. It wants a referendum on our relationship with the EU, and gives the Government zero out of five for not having one.
Apart from the thought that the TPA should be careful what it wishes for, it might also be noted that their EU expertise has recently encompassed some pretty dire product, such as the hatchet job on the ECHR.
So, in summary, a quick look through the TPA “briefing” shows an organisation that indulges in cheap hatchet jobs, whose proposals are not properly costed and unworkable, and which shills for less than 10% of taxpayers.So no change there, then.