From TaxPayers' Alliance <[email protected]>
Subject Weekly Bulletin
Date October 20, 2019 10:00 AM
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Hike in probate fees axed!

In case you missed it there was good news for taxpayers last weekend as thanks to the TPA's efforts, plans to increase probate fees up to £6,000 have been scrapped! On Saturday the Justice Secretary Robert Buckland announced that proposed rises have been abolished; government officials said the plans were "dead and buried".

In July we published The Cost of Death <[link removed]> which highlighted the punitive effects that changes in probate fees would have on taxpayers. Covered exclusively in The Daily Telegraph <[link removed]>our research paper showed the pernicious effects of death taxes across the UK. 



The rise in probate fees would have ignored the fact that receiving an inheritance is often unexpected, slamming bereaved families on modest incomes who don't have the resources to consult expensive solicitors. Increasing it by 28 times the current amount would have been nothing more than a revenue grab by the taxman. 

There is still more work to do and our team will continue to campaign for inheritance tax to be scrapped.

What was your reaction to the news? <mailto:[email protected]>

Grassroots news

Councillors' allowances

On Saturday we joined forces with TPA supporters in Ashfield and Mansfield to hold their local councils to account. Our research showed that councillors' allowances in Ashfield and Mansfield were sky high <[link removed]> when compared to other Nottinghamshire councils.

Despite having the smallest population out of all Notts councils, over the last three years Mansfield District Council consistently ranks highest (excluding Nottingham City Council) on money spent on members' allowances. In 2018/19 allowances and expenses to councillors reached a jaw-dropping £466,000. But nearby Rushcliffe Borough paid the lowest total in allowances to councillors, at half the cost of Mansfield, totalling £233,000. 



We are calling on Mansfield and Ashfield councils to justify their high costs of politics. Local residents are supporting our campaign urging both councils to reduce their allowances to councillors.

Click here to find out more and support our campaign. <[link removed]>

Burdens on business tour

To promote The Bumper Book of Burdens on Business <[link removed]> 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]>

TaxPayers' Alliance in the news

Conservatives should ease the tax burden

Writing in The Times our chief executive John O'Connell argued free market capitalism and tax cuts are the best way to win over voters at the next general election <[link removed]>. He says:

"Last week we published a package of reforms in five key taxes <[link removed]>, including income and corporation tax, to promote a competitive and pro-enterprise economy with benefits for everyone. Splashing the cash and surrendering to the cause of ever-greater spending is not in the Tories’ interests. In their hearts, they know it. And if voters work that out too, there won’t be a Thatcher-sized majority waiting for them after the election".



Do you agree with John? What tax policies do you think will win votes? <mailto:[email protected]>

Workplace parking levies in Scotland

The Scottish government recently announced that it will allow councils in Scotland to introduce workplace parking levies <[link removed]>. We have long been opposed to these schemes which are nothing more than revenue raisers for councils at the expense of businesses and their hard working employees.

Our response to the news made the front page of Tuesday's Scottish Daily Mail <[link removed]>. TPA research demonstrated that these levies are not as effective as they are made out to be when it comes to reducing air pollution and congestion. Additionally, such schemes are incredibly unpopular with local residents as our recent Lose The Levy campaign in Bristol <[link removed]> showed.



It was pleasing to see that a number of MSPs have hit back at the decision <[link removed]>. We will continue to campaign against the introduction of these levies.

Let me know your thoughts on workplace parking levies. <mailto:[email protected]>

Taxpayers' £57k a week bill to feed politicians

The Daily Express revealed that taxpayers stumped up £57,000 every week last year towards the cost of food and drink served to MPs and Lords at Parliament. Reporter Matthew Davis writes, "catering facilities in Parliament were £3 million in the red last year and had to be bailed out with the massive taxpayer-funded handout."

Our research director Duncan Simpson called on the next Speaker of the House to cut costs:

"While many families are struggling to put food on the table, they’ll be perplexed that they are still paying to subside politicians’ pints and lunches in Parliament. All the MPs currently running to be the next Speaker should pledge to cut the costs or, if necessary, just do the right thing and junk the subsidy completely."



Blog of the weekUK Taxes: Potential for Growth

At the start of October the Tax Foundation <[link removed]> published its 2019 International Tax Competitiveness Index <[link removed]>a study that measures and compares how well OECD countries promote sustainable economic growth and investment through competitive and neutral tax systems.

Writing a guest blog for the TPA, Elke Asen of the Tax Foundation analyses the UK's ranking of 25th in the index <[link removed]>. Most interestingly she notes that lowering corporation tax is welcome but cuts "have often been paired with base-broadening measures that penalise new business investment."



On Value Added Tax she argues, "the UK’s VAT applies to less than half of final consumption. This is largely due to <[link removed]> an unusually broad number of goods that are either VAT-exempt or subject to reduced VAT rates. Such exemptions and reduced rates create <[link removed]> distortions, reduce tax revenue substantially, and require a higher standard VAT rate. Applying the standard VAT rate to a greater share of final consumption could significantly improve the efficiency of the UK’s VAT system."

What would you do to improve Britain's rank in tax competitiveness? <mailto:[email protected]>

War on WastePlease hold the line

This week Portsmouth News reported that "a delayed multimillion-pound IT system <[link removed]> designed to 'transform' the way people contact police still cannot yet take a 999 call."

Working in partnership Thames Valley and Hampshire police forces want to build a "cutting edge" system that will make handling emergency 999 calls easier. The budget has already shot up from £27 million to £39 million and this won't be the final bill.



Commenting on the story I told reporter Ben Fishwick that it is "an absolutely scandalous waste of taxpayers' money, that so far has done nothing to improve policing and make the streets safer. Publicly funded IT projects seem to go hand-in-hand with failure, often caused by poor procurement and planning. Those responsible for this mess must be held to account and lessons must be learned."

Has your police force wasted money on a similar project? <mailto:[email protected]>

Harry Fone
Grassroots Campaign ManagerDonate to the TaxPayers' Alliance <[link removed]>



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