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Matthew Barrett TAXPAYERS ALLIANCE

During the last general election, the TaxPayers' Alliance published a manifesto, setting out objectives for this Parliament. Today, the TPA published its assessment of the Coalition's progress so far. The new report assigns scores out of five (with five meaning the objective has been satisfied, or there are plans to satisfy it, and zero meaning no progress has been made). 

The report finds that in every area, there is progress towards achieving some objectives, but progress is lacking in others:

  • In tax and spending the Government has introduced a 2-year public sector pay freeze (3/5) and cut middle class welfare (3/5) but has not matched benefit reform with better tax policy (2/5)
  • In reforming services the Government has given teachers and parents the right to open new, free schools (5/5) and appears to be on track to introduce elected police commissioners (4/5) but is yet to refocus transport spending on high use commuter rail and roads and is yet to scrap high speed rail proposals (0/5)
  • In democracy and transparency the Government has strengthened the FOI act (2/5) but there have been no moves to hold a referendum on a renegotiation of our relationship with the EU (0/5)

Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:

"Early on the Government made some excellent progress cutting some wasteful spending and opening up the public sector so taxpayers could see how their money is spent. Since then there has been further progress in some areas like strengthening Freedom of Information. Exciting reforms that will deliver better value from welfare, education and police spending have made progress. But in too many other fields, like tax reform and abolishing useless quangos, the rhetoric hasn’t been matched by the policy delivered. With expensive commitments like increasing international development and the high speed rail white elephant, families will see more of their money wasted. The TaxPayers' Alliance will continue fighting to defend the interests of ordinary taxpayers and campaigning on the priorities we set out before the election."

BigBrotherwatch logo The full report can be read here (pdf).

The civil liberties campaign group, Big Brother Watch, has also produced an anniversary report, assessing the Coalition's progress on that front. Some key points:

  • The promise to reduce the 28-day detention limit to 14 days has been kept
  • The promise to abolish ID cards has been kept
  • ContactPoint, the database that held information on all children under 18 was turned off in August last year
  • However, the Coalition has retained biometric identity cards for non-EU citizens
  • The Protection of Freedoms Bill, published in February made some progress towards deleting the DNA of people arrest for a crime but never charged. However, the bill will still allow storage of DNA profiles of those accused of serious violent and sexual crimes for a three year period, extendable by a further three years by a court order
  • The Protection of Freedoms Bill contained plans to remove stop and search powers granted by the Terrorism Act 2000, but further progress needs to be made
  • Control Orders have been replaced with Terrorism  Prevention and Investigation Measures, which are only an incremental improvement
  • The government kept its promise to ban the use of powers given by the Investigation of Regulatory Powers Act, the law that gives council officers the ability to demand entry into private homes
  • The government has continued the Intercept Modernisation Programme, which allows the government to crack phones and store emails, but information stored is on a smaller scale than Labour planned
  • The Summary Care Record, the NHS record database, is being continued by the government, despite both Coalition parties pledging to scrap it
  • CCTV usage has grown, despite research showing it has no effect on crime

The full report can be read here (pdf).

6 comments for: The TaxPayers’ Alliance and Big Brother Watch give their anniversary verdicts on the Coalition

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