Freedom. Capitalism. Prosperity
In our latest publication, the Freedom Factbook, we outline the massive benefits that lower taxes and limited intervention in the economy can bring. Free markets and free people have made the whole world richer, made people more equal, and brought freedom of speech and freedom of choice to billions of people. Everywhere from the United States to Hong Kong have benefited from capitalism, creating prosperity, improving our living standards and the environment.
The TaxPayers’ Alliance is proud to be a non-partisan organisation that doesn't pull its punches. If politicians of any party want to try and put up taxes, expand the government, limit competition and beef up the state - we'll stand against it.
The Freedom Factbook is a handy pocket-sized guide with quotes, charts, stats and images to promote free markets. Click here to download your free copy.
There was excellent news on Wednesday as the government announced a review of High Speed 2. Led by former HS2 Ltd chairman Douglas Oakervee and deputised by Great British Transport Competition (GBTC) judge Lord Berkeley, a panel of experts will provide the Department of Transport with clear advice on the future of HS2. It is very encouraging to see many friends of the TPA and HS2 sceptics on the panel.
The TPA very much welcome this news and this is an excellent opportunity to shine a light on the true costs of HS2. Lord Berkeley has long opposed HS2 and his expertise was invaluable when judging entries to GBTC. Launched by the Rt. Hon David Davis MP, the competition identified 28 local and national transport infrastructure projects that could be built instead of HS2. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Davis cited the Great British Transport Competition and urged the government to scrap HS2 describing it as a "colossal waste of money".
This is a promising sign that the government is willing to be bold and think seriously before spending taxpayers' money on a white elephant. We look forward to the reading the panel's report in the autumn.
Would you like to work for the TaxPayers' Alliance? Visit the links below to find out more about three exciting new roles:
Upcoming action days
We will once again be teaming up with local ratepayers group Croydon Constitutionalists to shine some much needed light on the local council's spending. Do come along and join us:
When: Saturday 7th September, 10.30am to 1pm
Why freedom is the bedrock of prosperity
In a piece for CapX our chief executive John O'Connell promoted our Freedom Factbook (above) and argued it's time we celebrated the record of free societies and lower taxes. He writes:
"We all know that freedom works. For the economy, lower taxes and minimal but robust regulation create the space for innovation and rapid growth. Rich societies mean less poverty and greater equality."
Petition calls for inquiry into pay rise
Last week I was a guest on BBC South Today to discuss news that Karen Whelan chief executive of Surrey Heath council was awarded a staggering 37 per cent pay rise bringing her salary to nearly £200,000 per year. The story has caused quite a stir in the local community and one resident has launched a petition calling for an independent inquiry into why the pay increase was awarded.
The petition has garnered nearly 1,400 signatures at the time of writing and I was invited onto BBC Radio Surrey to give my thoughts on the matter. I told presenter Angus Moorat that such salary increases are rarely justified and completely out of line with what many workers in the private sector are used to. Click here to listen to the interview.
Free schools: taking the state out of the school
This week we published a guest blog by Bethany Wright, a teacher of English Literature and Divinities at the West London Free School. She makes a passionate defence of free schools and demonstrates that "pupils from the poorest areas can be equipped to compete with the best educated in the country". Figures show that primary free schools have the best Key Stage 1 results of any type of school.
Bethany calls on politicians to do more to support free schools, "since 2015 the founding of free schools has been increasingly restricted, due in no part to a failure amongst free schools, but instead a fightback by the 'progressive' education establishment. It is vital that parliamentarians are bold and continue to make the case for free schools, and that teachers adapt to the new opportunities that free schools present. To do anything less would be nothing short of a betrayal of future generations."
The jet-set Met
New figures secured by TPA via the Greater London Assembly reveal that the costs of flights and hotels for the Metropolitan Police have risen sharply under London mayor Sadiq Khan's watch. In 2015-16 the Met spent £2,550,613 on flights which by 2018-19 had nearly doubled to £4,620,000. Hotel costs almost trebled from £763,199 in 2015-16 to £2,026,105 in 2018-19.
The latest figures are worrying, especially after we published research last year showing that the Met spent more than £8.5 million of taxpayers' money on flights between April 2015 and December 2017. 56 per cent of these flights were in non-economy cabins!
Commenting for the Daily Mail our political director James Roberts said, "While some overseas visits are completely understandable, the jet-set Met needs to justify letting these air fares increase to sky-high levels."