The so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA), via the efforts of non-job holder Andrew Allison, yesterday ran a piece of knocking copy aimed at the Association of Police Authorities (APA), which represents 43 member Authorities across the UK. The article appeared in the “Burning Our Money” section of the TPA website, so readers are clearly meant to conclude that the APA is engaged in wasting public funds.
Indeed, Allison asserted that “it does swallow-up [sic] £1.5 million of our money from subscriptions ... and an additional £282k in Home Office grants”, and then told that “It has a council which consists of 80 members, drawn from the 49 member authorities, and it also has a board, which consists of 19 members”. Sounds authoritative enough.
So by the time Allison gets on to members’ allowances, asserting that these were over £294k in 2009-10, and that this was an increase from £253k the previous year, readers may believe that he is telling them something factual and well researched. But, as regular visitors to Zelo Street will know, the TPA speaks with forked tongue when it chooses, which on past experience, is most of the time.
Come on out with your hands up, second floor people
And so it came to pass: the APA, to its credit, has responded and put the TPA straight. First off, they do not receive a grant from the Home Office. Moreover, their council and board have 60 and 17 members respectively – not 80 and 19. The number of member authorities served by the APA is 43, not 49. And those 2009-10 allowances of £294k were actually £184k.
Why am I not surprised? Well, this is, after all, the organisation that put out the largely fictitious “report” last December on the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which I dismantled at the time. That invented £25 billion of costs and attributed them to the ECHR, while seriously exaggerating the cost of actual judgments.
But all credit to the APA for biting back at the TPA, and reminding everyone of their shockingly inaccurate reportage. And in the meantime, good TPA people, when are we going to see a full set of accounts, together with list of donors?