Regular visitors to Zelo Street will have noticed that there has been little attention given of late to the machinations of the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA), which claims to represent all taxpayers but speaks for less than one tenth of one per cent of them. The TPA is, despite its protestations, an Astroturf lobby group closely aligned with the Conservative Party and its pals out there on the right.
Not much guff from Tufton Street right now
There is a good reason why the TPA has not featured at this blog of late, and that is its lack of visibility on the Zelo Street radar. This is despite the TPA claiming on its website to have a staff of fourteen. Now, it’s understood that coordinators Lee Canning and Tim Newark have their own full-time occupations away from the TPA, and Research Fellows Mike Denham and Lee Rotherham may be part-timers.
But that still leaves ten staff, including CEO Jonathan Isaby, and, were I one of that select band pumping money into keeping the TPA balloon in the air, I might ask what on earth they are all doing, given that there has only been one of those infamous FOI trawls in the past five months – a typically ill-informed hatchet job on the NHS, published at the start of April.
Indeed, apart from telling the world about their latest FOI based “report”, the TPA website contained only one other entry for April. There was just one entry for May, two for June, and then only one in July. The May item was to announce the re-launch of the TPA’s “debt clock”, which hardly needs the collective efforts of ten staff to achieve. There was, however, one other activity in play.
And that was something called the War On Waste Roadshow: here, the TPA’s staff travel around the country whining about Council Tax and parking restrictions. Last month, it appears that this tour was in the North West, not that it appears to have attracted any significant media interest. Few images of this enterprise have been published. But plenty of money has been spent on hotels and travel.
So it appears that the “waste”, far from being perpetrated by local Government, is coming from the TPA. And, despite more news items appearing on their website this month, all the content appears to be recycling articles from newspapers, or claiming credit for something someone else is doing. Then there is the cost of that expensive central London office space to consider.
Yes, if I were a TPA donor, I’d be wanting to know why the organisation needed so many bodies for so little end product, although it is pleasing to think of all those rich and greedy backers spraying their money up the wall in the vain hope that the TPA will somehow cause their tax bills to fall. The public sector has nothing on them when it comes to poor value for money.
What you will not read in the papers today. Nice non-job if you can get it.