On Monday evening we were joined by entrepreneur and living legend Barry Hearn to celebrate the launch of our latest report, The Bumper Book of Burdens on Business <[link removed]>. The report outlines the bureaucratic regulations and taxes such as VAT, business rates, fuel duty and corporation tax which are stifling innovation, productivity, growth and entrepreneurship.
Barry founded Matchroom Sport in the 1980s which promotes sports such as darts, boxing and snooker. Speaking to our audience at darts social club, Flight Club, he explained that businesses don't pay taxes. Instead they are paid by entrepreneurs, shareholders staff and customers. He called on the government to back British businesses "to the hilt" which would help entrepreneurs achieve their dreams and make the country more prosperous. Click here to watch a video of the launch. <[link removed]>
Barry Hearn urged the government to do more to support British business
These burdens affect companies no matter how big or long established they are, but worse still they discourage Brits from starting a business in the first place. With some politicians constantly doing down our best and brightest firms, it's a tough environment for our entrepreneurs. If Britain wants to be a leader on the world stage, then the government must champion pro-prosperity policies that encourage growth, innovation and entrepreneurship.
To promote The Bumper Book of Burdens on Business I will be attending business exhibitions across the country. A full list of events can be found below and all are free to attend.
Basildon Business Expo
When: Thursday 24th October, 10am to 3pm
Where: Holiday Inn, Basildon (map <[link removed]>)
basildonbusinessexpo.co.uk <[link removed]>
North East Expo
When: Thursday 14th November, 9am to 4pm
Where: Falcons Stadium, Newcastle upon Tyne (map <[link removed]>)
northeastexpo.co.uk/tickets/ <[link removed]>
South West Business Expo
When: Wednesday 20th November, 9.30am to 3.30pm
Where: Westpoint Arena, Exeter (map <[link removed]>)
southwestbusinessexpo.co.uk/book-your-tickets/ <[link removed]>
Following on from my visit to Liberal Democrat Party conference, on Tuesday our research fellow Rory Meakin attended Labour Party conference to take part in a discussion on wealth taxes. There have been repeated calls from many in the party to impose taxes on the wealthiest in society. Rory argued that such taxes will drive entrepreneurs overseas and revenues at the exchequer will likely decrease.
Today is the start of Conservative Party Conference in Manchester and sees the return of our ever popular ThinkTent in partnership with the Institute of Economic Affairs. You can find full listings of all our panel discussions here. <[link removed]> Do come along and join us if you can.
TaxPayers' Alliance in the news
National 'Health Tax'?
The Sun recently reported that "patients who drive to hospital will be clobbered by a new 'health tax' under new motoring charges planned by Labour." <[link removed]> Jonathan Ashworth the shadow health secretary wants to impose clean air zones around all NHS buildings. This means that visitors or patients travelling to a hospital by car will have to pay a tax on top of any parking charges.
The TPA has long argued that clean air zones do not work and are merely a revenue raiser for government. Our political director James Roberts denounced the plans:
"Expecting patients to cough up for clean air charges is callous beyond belief. Improving air quality is a noble aim, but these zones are yet another attack on hard-up taxpayers, and aren’t even the most effective way of cutting emissions. Instead of slapping a stealth tax on the sick, politicians should be looking at ways to cut the costs of getting to hospital, like tackling rip-off parking charges."
Basildon District Council has announced plans to keep street lights on all night rather than turning them off from 1am to 5am. The cost to do so has been put at £146,000 and some have questioned whether this is good use of taxpayers' money. Others have argued that having the lights on all night is needed to ensure safety for pedestrians and motorists.
I joined the debate on BBC Radio Essex and attempted to shine some light on the situation. I told presenter Chris Berrow that in the scheme of council spending this is a relatively small amount of money. However, there may be some streets that require no lighting, indeed some councils can control each individual light remotely. Alternatively the money could be spent putting police officers on patrol to deter crime. Click here to listen to a clip from the interview. <[link removed]>
Just last week the government announced the winner of the long-awaited Type 31 frigate programme. The new frigates will be lighter and cheaper than the Type 26 frigates due to come in service in the 2020, and should be completed much sooner.
Writing on the TPA blog this week <[link removed]> however, policy analyst Jeremy Hutton warns that the Type 31 programme is likely to take longer and cost much more than anticipated.
"Should the procurement team at the MoD, led by able minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan, somehow produce the 5 ships within budget and on time then it will be a commendable achievement, turning the tide on a recent history of botched defence procurement. Yet as things stand, getting the first ship in the water by 2023 and for an average cost of just £250 million per ship seems a tall order."
A fire chief is in hot water after using a hose and standpipe from his fire station to fill up his home swimming pool with 20,000 litres of water <[link removed]>. David Ballingall from Ayrshire used the publicly funded equipment to source water from a nearby hydrant. An eagle eyed neighbour reported his misdemeanour to his bosses.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has investigated the incident and says it has taken action "in line with policy". I gave my thoughts on to The Scottish Sun:
"This chief has plumbed new depths when it comes to misuse of taxpayer funded equipment. Such behaviour is completely inappropriate and won't wash with hard working taxpayers. His actions may well dampen the reputation of the fire service, incidents like this must never happen again."
Do you agree or was this fire chief justified in his actions? <mailto:[email protected]>
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