Matthew Sinclair Is New TPA Boss

Matthew Elliott has stood down as Chief Executive of the perennially sound Taxpayers’ Alliance after eight years at the helm. He will be replaced by current TPA Director Matthew Sinclair.

A worthy successor…

Shriti Gives Think Tank Award to Chums

Guido couldn’t quite work out why the zero-impact wonks over at the Social Market Foundation managed to scoop Prospect magazine’s annual “Think Tank of the Year” award. After a bit of digging the mystery has been solved. It turns out the SMF was fortunate enough to have a chum sitting on the judging panel. Former FT editor Richard Lambert agreed that the SMF deserved the award due to it’s “memorable” analysis of the budget, “Osborne’s Choice“. Perhaps it stuck in Lambert’s mind because he contributed to the report himself…

And the suspicious chumminess didn’t stop there. Guido has learnt that another judge on the panel, Shriti Vadera of Barclays/Libor fame, used to be a director of the SMF back in 2007. If only George Osborne could find a smoking gun like that…

Boles: Revoke Rich Rivieria Retiree's Reliefs

Yesterday Guido pointed to Liz Truss advocating tax hikes for the working elderly, today another Tory MP, Nic Boles, is planning to hit the pockets of OAPs. He wants to take away welfare benefits from the wealthy – Brown’s £300 winter allowance for rich retirees on the Riviera is a target. This welfare payment is symbolic of all that that was wrong with Brown’s welfare universalism.

Guido has never understood why millionaires should get welfare benefits, Brown deliberately doled out welfare bribes to the affluent who didn’t really need them to gain political buy-in for the welfare state. Welfare universalism was an ideological policy designed to create middle class support for Brown’s Big Government tax and spend dependency culture. Unravelling welfare universalism is key to cutting the deficit.

The affluent old are a key Tory voting demographic group, Boles is being brave taking them on. As with removing Child Benefit from millionaire mothers there will be resistance and much shroud waving. Unlike raising taxes on the working old, this reform is worth doing…

"Free Enterprise" Group Wants to Tax the Old Even More

Guido bumped into Liz Truss last week and complained that her pamphleting “Free Enterprise” Group of Tory MPs wasn’t very right-wing. She looked at Guido arched-eyed and knocked back her drink before stumbling off. 

As if to prove the point this morning her “Free Enterprise” Group released a pamphlet arguing for an increase in taxes for the working over-65s:

Older workers who continue to work should pay National Insurance contributions on their earned income.  Extra NIC income could be banked or used to give NIC holidays (employee and employer) to young low paid workers.

No doubt they will argue this is revenue neutral and just shifting the tax burden onto the older generation which has had it pretty good. This begs the question; what kind of free enterprise group wants tax hikes and revenue neutrality? The status quo is disastrous, we’re over-taxed to finance Gordon’s Big Government welfare state. The New Labour era saw state spending as a percentage of GDP go up from 35% under Margaret Thatcher to 45% under Gordon Brown. If even a Tory free enterprise group is unwilling to push back on Gordon Brown’s settlement  the country is stuffed…

UPDATE: 

Happy ending…

IPPR, the Staggers and the €800,000 Bung

Guido was amused to read Will Straw’s Staggers piece today asking: “Europe, what have you done for me lately?“.

His gushing tribute to the EU’s legislation on mobile charges was as sickly as it was suspicious – after all, his organisation IPPR is hardly renowned for its tech prowess.

Perhaps the real answer to Straw’s question lies in the fact that Brussels has bunged his wonk-shop €800,000

California Dreaming

Sipping rosé with media types last night Guido bumped into an academic co-conspirator from Stanford. Conversation soon turned to Steve Hilton, their visiting professor:

“I saw him the other day in flip flops. He appears to be on vacation.”

Sic semper…

"Transparent" Lefty Think Tank and their Anonymous Funding

Last week Guido brought you the report claiming that left-wing think tanks are more transparent than their right-wing counterparts. One of the think tanks awarded the top A-rating by Who Funds You was the New Economics Foundation, who state on their website: “the NEF believes that organisations advocating political change should be open about how they are funded.”

Funny then that a £200k per annum donor to the NEF, the Network for Social Policy, says on its own website that: “the Network for Social Change is a group of individuals providing anonymous funding for progressive social change“.

Guido isn’t sure how a think tank with donors seeking to remain anonymous can be described as transparent…

Private Sector Wonks Under Fire from Public Sector Wonks

A new report has claimed that left-wing think tanks are more transparent than their right-wing counterparts. New left-wing pressure group Who Funds You awards an A-rating to the likes of left-of-centre campaigns IPPR, Progress and Compass, while laying into the right-of-centre Adam Smith Institute and the Taxpayers’ Alliance for their supposed lack of openness. Ignoring of course that right-of-centre think tanks don’t usually take public money from the taxpayers. Left-wing think tanks benefit from a lot of taxpayers’ money, IPPR for example got £800,000 of taxpayers’ money via the EU…

UPDATE: The ASI have hit back:

Touché… 

Because He's Worth It

Earlier this month Guido broke the news that No.10 SpAd Dr Sean Worth had quit his job to take up a post at Policy Exchange. Putting his head above the parapet for the first time since, the good doctor appeared on Newsnight last night. […] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

GDP Growth Was Higher in the 1930s

On the Today programme yesterday morning Ed Balls claimed Osborne has made a giant mistake and cuts in public spending are the same mistake made by Snowden in the 1930s. Balls is wrong, as a recent pamphlet from the Centre for Policy Studies by George Trefgarne shows.[…] Read the rest

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Time to Sack the Statist "Charity" Sock Puppets

Guido has always seen state-funded charities as a constant source of annoyance. Today the Institute of Economic Affairs calls on the government to bring an end to lobbying by charities that receive taxpayers’ money. They even quote Guido’s jibe about fake charities from last year:

“A charity that relies in the main part on taxes is no more a charity than a prostitute is your girlfriend”.

[…] Read the rest

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IPPR Advocate Crime Tracking App

Guido has often taken the left-wing iPPR think-tank to task for some of its craziest policy ideas, the never ending hyper-Keynesian fallacies it pumps out and for flogging access for cash in the past. So when they come out with a good idea it is a noteworthy shock.[…] Read the rest

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Exclusive: No. 10 SpAd Sean Worth QuittingMoving to Policy Exchange Think Tank

Special Adviser to the Prime Minister Sean Worth is departing government to head up an investigation into better public services at Policy Exchange. It seems to be mid-term transfer season with lots of  SpAds looking to move on and out. Worth was on secondment to fire-fight at health and Guido hears, like another recently departed member of Team Dave, he wants to be able to speak out more than he currently can about how to radically reform the public sector.[…] Read the rest

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Small is Beautiful

Guido really likes this video from the wonks at the Centre for Policy Studies, it animates a very clear message, around the world lower taxes lead to higher growth rates.

The data is pretty clearly presented, are you watching Mr Osborne?[…] Read the rest

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Wonks Goes West

Tom Clougherty is leaving his post as Executive Director of the Adam Smith Institute at the end of April. He will be taking up a new post as Managing Editor of the libertarian Reason Foundation think-tank in Washington DC.

Dr Madsen Pirie, president of the ASI tells Guido, “We are very sorry to be losing Tom because of the incredible work he did to build up the ASI, but this is a wonderful opportunity for him and we wish him well in his new venture.”  There are a lot of ladies in Westminster who will miss the charmer’s smile too..[…] Read the rest

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Think Tank Lets Sponsor Co-Author Research Report

The link between think-tank research and its “sponsors” has always been opaque. A cynical man would say companies bung a load of cash to shape supposedly independent research, but wonks wil always stress that their final recommendations are free from the influence of their paymasters.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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