Welcome to Surrey Tax Action group (STAG)
STAG wanted better local government – especially within Surrey County Council where spending spiralled out of control. This coincided with a period of poor management resulting in Surrey’s residents suffering many years of above inflation council tax increases, and inexcusably poor road maintenance. We sought constructive positive dialogue with a simple objective: better business practice, improved financial controls and a better deal for resident taxpayers.
STAG is not linked to any particular party or group: we simply want better and less costly local government. We also want ‘accountability’ properly done. Our supporters include people with specialist knowledge of finance, business management and communications. Become a STAG supporter today – no subscriptions or donations, just your support – click on Support STAG to register.
Our efforts have influenced better performance from Surrey CC. Highway maintenance is improving. For ‘accountability’ it is now producing Annual Reports up to that for 2014-15. But it needs to be delivered to engage voters. We the people who now have the universal franchise and with it voting responsibility need to know what is at stake. Wider government and former Secretary of State Eric Pickles in a personal letter made claims for newly defined data disclosures seemingly oblivious to the fact that they are not new in financial statements. And disclosure has to be seen not filed away.
All this was pre-dated by personal shock and disbelief at the unprofessional state of governance and voter engagement: Government doesn't practise much that it prescribes in law. The state of the public finances shows that it performs poorly at large-scale procurement and commissioning, big-project planning skills, financial and general management and operations, and accountability. The Treasury is the 'weakest link': there hasn't been a financial system as normally understood. The institution that is government is financially illiterate. There is no proper system of democratic discharge and renewal. The senior civil service as it is is not now the right apparatus for the interventionist government environment that we have been living in since WW2. Managerial prowess is required to lead us to economic success in a competitive world.
STAG was a member of the TaxPayers Alliance since its inception until November 2013 having failed to reach accord on the meaning of 'accountability' and 'better government'.