From the TUC

What has the TPA got against molecules, atoms, stars and space?

17 Sep 2009, by in Economics, Politics, Working Life

They may bark at the moon but they are not interested in studying it.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance have allowed favoured newspapers to preview their new report on quangos. So far so predictable. It’s not surprising that they attack the Health and Safety Executive, even though the HSE has little to do with many of the “health and safety gone mad” stories beloved of the right-wing tabloids. (Usually they are either myths or a market failure, when events or activities can’t get affordable insurance cover).

But there are some new targets today too.

Why single out the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council? £324 million for studying molecules, atoms, stars and space as the Daily Mail has it. Is it really the TPA’s view that basic science shouldn’t get state support, and if there was a use for it then the market would deliver?

And one has to admire their bravery in attacking the Farm Animal Welfare Council.

Middle England like their animals.

6 Responses to What has the TPA got against molecules, atoms, stars and space?

  1. Clifford Singer
    Sep 17th 2009, 1:53 pm

    It’s also worth adding that the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council doesn’t even exist anymore. It merged with the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils to form the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

    One less quango for the TPA to worry about!

  2. Tax Research UK » What has the TPA got against molecules, atoms, stars and space?
    Sep 17th 2009, 4:46 pm

    […] What has the TPA got against molecules, atoms, stars and space? | ToUChstone blog: A public policy b…. […]

  3. Nigel Stanley

    Nigel Stanley
    Sep 17th 2009, 4:52 pm

    I’ve just got it.

    The TPA are aliens, and they are worried that they might be rumbled.

  4. What has the TPA got against molecules, atoms, stars and space? | called2account
    Sep 17th 2009, 8:20 pm

    […] What has the TPA got against molecules, atoms, stars and space? | ToUChstone blog: A public policy b…. […]

  5. douglas
    Sep 19th 2009, 11:39 am

    but what exactly does this quango do with £324m of our money? how much actually funds research?

  6. Nigel Stanley

    Nigel Stanley
    Sep 19th 2009, 1:01 pm

    Well Douglas,

    You could read their annual report at http://www.scitech.ac.uk/About/wwd/ar/arContents.aspx

    It has much fuller accounts than the TaxPayers’ Alliance ever publish.

    But I sincerely hope it doesn’t spend all its money on research. That would mean it was allocating no resources to:
    * assessing what makes good research and who are the good researchers
    * ensuring that money allocated to research has been spent properly
    * publicising its work and facilitating technology transfer to ensure that basic science research can be applied by industry
    * encouraging the brightest kids to go into science rather than the City

    I never argue that all the public sector is automatically as efficient as it could be.

    But these kinds of attacks are simply based on shrinking the state, not getting the best bang for the buck from public spending.

    Science is actually something the UK does well. This government has rightly increased spending in this area. It’s not been that controversial (except of course with the TPA).