James Alexander’s anger at TaxPayers’ Alliance protest

YORK’S council leader has hit back at a right-wing lobby group that demonstrated against the city’s proposed council tax rise.

James Alexander says the TaxPayers’ Alliance protest last Friday was poorly supported and says the group has actually cost City of York Council thousands of pounds through its repeated use of the Freedom of Information Act.

He said the group had submitted 49 requests to the council in the past year, costing about £5,200 in administration, which he said equated to four years' council tax for a Band C property.

Coun Alexander said: “What the TaxPayers’ Alliance doesn't tell the public is the overall cost to the taxpayer of their continued FOI requests, to local councils up and down the country. The public supports scrutiny of public spending but not in the scattergun way that the TaxPayers’ Alliance submits FOI requests, which wastes money that could be spent on essential services.”

He said the campaign group failed to grasp the challenges facing councils, said Government cuts had reduced funding to York by £42.58 per resident and said more councils would become unviable because of Government cuts not in the public interest.

Comments (22)

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9:26am Wed 28 Nov 12

JC42 says...

Why should people not protest??? we are sick and tired of everything going up.
The council are cutting services but they want us to pay more for them.
Why should people not protest??? we are sick and tired of everything going up. The council are cutting services but they want us to pay more for them. JC42

10:17am Wed 28 Nov 12

Overproof says...

Do the staff that deal with FOI requests get paid "per request" ?

Or, do they get a salary - costing the council the same regardless of if they process 100 or 110 requests ?
Do the staff that deal with FOI requests get paid "per request" ? Or, do they get a salary - costing the council the same regardless of if they process 100 or 110 requests ? Overproof

10:20am Wed 28 Nov 12

roskoboskovic says...

so alexander just wants us to sit back and give him carte blanche to do as he pleases.maybe money is wasted by these requests but i suggest it can t be as much as he s frittered away on consultations,market
ing and pandering to the cycling nazis.
so alexander just wants us to sit back and give him carte blanche to do as he pleases.maybe money is wasted by these requests but i suggest it can t be as much as he s frittered away on consultations,market ing and pandering to the cycling nazis. roskoboskovic

10:21am Wed 28 Nov 12

powerwatt says...

Is he saying he doesn't support FOI requests?
Is he saying he doesn't support FOI requests? powerwatt

10:22am Wed 28 Nov 12

capt spaulding says...

If the boy wonder was more open and less secretive they wouldnt need to do FOI s.
If the boy wonder was more open and less secretive they wouldnt need to do FOI s. capt spaulding

10:30am Wed 28 Nov 12

again says...

Taxpayers Alliance is an organisation of the wealthy elite.

Their members have no difficulty paying for private health care, private homes for their elderly and they do not fear unemployment.

We are in the state we find ourselves due largely to members of the wealthy elite whose greed made them careless.

There is nothing wrong in wanting lower taxes provided it doesn't scrap services for the less wealthy. This agenda is a populist one fronting more extreme measures for reducing standards of living for the majority of us.
Taxpayers Alliance is an organisation of the wealthy elite. Their members have no difficulty paying for private health care, private homes for their elderly and they do not fear unemployment. We are in the state we find ourselves due largely to members of the wealthy elite whose greed made them careless. There is nothing wrong in wanting lower taxes provided it doesn't scrap services for the less wealthy. This agenda is a populist one fronting more extreme measures for reducing standards of living for the majority of us. again

10:43am Wed 28 Nov 12

Theendoftheworld says...

'again' is right. Has anyone seen these right-wing activists protesting about Dave and Gideon giving millionaires £40,000 tax breaks?
'again' is right. Has anyone seen these right-wing activists protesting about Dave and Gideon giving millionaires £40,000 tax breaks? Theendoftheworld

11:48am Wed 28 Nov 12

Capt. Dobie says...

Theendoftheworld wrote:
'again' is right. Has anyone seen these right-wing activists protesting about Dave and Gideon giving millionaires £40,000 tax breaks?
Anyway...back to the article in question...Calamity is a buffoon, FOI requests however burdensome are now in our 'rights', and what 'Overproof' says is probably the truth; you don't put in a claim for handling an FOI request as an FOI Officer in an organisation.

And 'atorycouncil2014' has a decent point too, were Labours request allowed/ approved??

YCC is in a hole and looks to be in a bit of a quandry...but council tax payers can't afford a 10- 15% increase either.

Call in an independant accounts team to check the books, vfm, and ridiculous charging by contractors.
[quote][p][bold]Theendoftheworld[/bold] wrote: 'again' is right. Has anyone seen these right-wing activists protesting about Dave and Gideon giving millionaires £40,000 tax breaks?[/p][/quote]Anyway...back to the article in question...Calamity is a buffoon, FOI requests however burdensome are now in our 'rights', and what 'Overproof' says is probably the truth; you don't put in a claim for handling an FOI request as an FOI Officer in an organisation. And 'atorycouncil2014' has a decent point too, were Labours request allowed/ approved?? YCC is in a hole and looks to be in a bit of a quandry...but council tax payers can't afford a 10- 15% increase either. Call in an independant accounts team to check the books, vfm, and ridiculous charging by contractors. Capt. Dobie

12:51pm Wed 28 Nov 12

The Great Buda says...

The TaxPayers’ Alliance, who recently started a new campaign fronted by..... Dr Liam "the tax payer pays for his mates holidays" Fox - you simply couldn't make it up.
The TaxPayers’ Alliance, who recently started a new campaign fronted by..... Dr Liam "the tax payer pays for his mates holidays" Fox - you simply couldn't make it up. The Great Buda

12:55pm Wed 28 Nov 12

M.Lucas says...

Now I'm no friend to the astroturfers over at the Taxpayers Alliance, but it's a pretty moronic argument Cllr Alexander is making here.

FOI requests are legal and quite often the only means of getting information public. By the very fact that the body you're requesting them from doesn't want the information out and the fact that many bodies have become excellent at denying the information due to the request not asking 'the right question' means that not all FOI requests result in anything useful/meaningful.

I would love to know how many FOI requests Labour made in opposition and the cost!

Cllr Alexander seems to have a real problem with having an 'open' administration judging from the various reports over the last few months. His dislike of the FOI system is probably another aspect of that.

That said, Taxpayers Alliance are a bunch of numptys and I really wish the Press wouldn't call 5 or 6 misfits holding up placards a "protest". Call it what it is: "A photo-op".
Now I'm no friend to the astroturfers over at the Taxpayers Alliance, but it's a pretty moronic argument Cllr Alexander is making here. FOI requests are legal and quite often the only means of getting information public. By the very fact that the body you're requesting them from doesn't want the information out and the fact that many bodies have become excellent at denying the information due to the request not asking 'the right question' means that not all FOI requests result in anything useful/meaningful. I would love to know how many FOI requests Labour made in opposition and the cost! Cllr Alexander seems to have a real problem with having an 'open' administration judging from the various reports over the last few months. His dislike of the FOI system is probably another aspect of that. That said, Taxpayers Alliance are a bunch of numptys and I really wish the Press wouldn't call 5 or 6 misfits holding up placards a "protest". Call it what it is: "A photo-op". M.Lucas

1:30pm Wed 28 Nov 12

Gary Gilmores Eyes says...

All UK citizens have the right to demonstrate, is James Alexander as ‘present’ leader of York council stating that nobody can demonstrate about anything unless he agrees with it?

Is James Alexander as ’present’ leader of the council stating that the council will not follow the law in respect to FOI requests due to his instructions/opinion
s?

If this is the case I look forward to seeing you in court after action from the Information Commissioner!

Perhaps there is a reason behind the demonstration James! Ever thought of that?

To dismiss the demonstrators as right wing or indeed any other wing that you do not agree with and attempt to polarise and deride the public’s support is typical and predictable tactics from an insecure and desperate man in a vain attempt to keep him in so called power.

If he had said nothing it would have all been forgotten about, but now the inevitable storm in a teacup in backwater politics will occur due to him opening his mouth again without the puppeteer telling him to.


‘The public supports scrutiny of public spending but not in the scattergun way that the TaxPayers’ Alliance submits FOI requests, which wastes money that could be spent on essential services.’

Would these public services be the ones that YOU have cut and spent money that the council does not have prior to these FOI requests? Yes I think so!

Just bear in mind James, you are a very minor cog in a very big wheel, do not have delusions of grandeur you seem to be gaining!

He does keep giving me and others the ammunition doesn’t he!

I think James Alexander should resign over this!

I suggest that at the next protest irrespective of the subject the chant should be:
James Alexander OUT, OUT, OUT!
All UK citizens have the right to demonstrate, is James Alexander as ‘present’ leader of York council stating that nobody can demonstrate about anything unless he agrees with it? Is James Alexander as ’present’ leader of the council stating that the council will not follow the law in respect to FOI requests due to his instructions/opinion s? If this is the case I look forward to seeing you in court after action from the Information Commissioner! Perhaps there is a reason behind the demonstration James! Ever thought of that? To dismiss the demonstrators as right wing or indeed any other wing that you do not agree with and attempt to polarise and deride the public’s support is typical and predictable tactics from an insecure and desperate man in a vain attempt to keep him in so called power. If he had said nothing it would have all been forgotten about, but now the inevitable storm in a teacup in backwater politics will occur due to him opening his mouth again without the puppeteer telling him to. ‘The public supports scrutiny of public spending but not in the scattergun way that the TaxPayers’ Alliance submits FOI requests, which wastes money that could be spent on essential services.’ Would these public services be the ones that YOU have cut and spent money that the council does not have prior to these FOI requests? Yes I think so! Just bear in mind James, you are a very minor cog in a very big wheel, do not have delusions of grandeur you seem to be gaining! He does keep giving me and others the ammunition doesn’t he! I think James Alexander should resign over this! I suggest that at the next protest irrespective of the subject the chant should be: James Alexander OUT, OUT, OUT! Gary Gilmores Eyes

5:07pm Wed 28 Nov 12

York1900 says...

TaxPayers’ Alliance some of there members use every legal means to avoid as much tax as they can but there actions mean that we have to pick up the short fall by paying more tax
TaxPayers’ Alliance some of there members use every legal means to avoid as much tax as they can but there actions mean that we have to pick up the short fall by paying more tax York1900

7:15pm Wed 28 Nov 12

yorkshirelad says...

The taxpayers alliance is a rather unpleasant right-wing group which tries to make itself sound representative by it's name... (Reminds me of 'SafeSpeed' the pro-speeding pressure group that apparently was run for many years by one bloke but still got media attention as if it was representative in some way) There are many tax-payers out here in the real world who don't agree with them.

It's quite clear that FOI requests are being misused in political interest and James Alexander is absolutely right on this one.
The taxpayers alliance is a rather unpleasant right-wing group which tries to make itself sound representative by it's name... (Reminds me of 'SafeSpeed' the pro-speeding pressure group that apparently was run for many years by one bloke but still got media attention as if it was representative in some way) There are many tax-payers out here in the real world who don't agree with them. It's quite clear that FOI requests are being misused in political interest and James Alexander is absolutely right on this one. yorkshirelad

8:09pm Wed 28 Nov 12

nearlyman says...

£106 per request ! No wonder they need more money !
Look what happened to David Scott when he dared to disagree............
..Methinks the lunatics have taken over the asylum.
When it is revealed which Parliamentry seat Cllr. Alexander takes a punt at, as part of his escape strategy from the disaster zone that York is becoming, the citizens of York must all write to the constituency big wigs waxing lyrical about his achievements in York. Its the only way.
£106 per request ! No wonder they need more money ! Look what happened to David Scott when he dared to disagree............ ..Methinks the lunatics have taken over the asylum. When it is revealed which Parliamentry seat Cllr. Alexander takes a punt at, as part of his escape strategy from the disaster zone that York is becoming, the citizens of York must all write to the constituency big wigs waxing lyrical about his achievements in York. Its the only way. nearlyman

11:42pm Wed 28 Nov 12

oi oi savaloy says...

again wrote:
Taxpayers Alliance is an organisation of the wealthy elite.

Their members have no difficulty paying for private health care, private homes for their elderly and they do not fear unemployment.

We are in the state we find ourselves due largely to members of the wealthy elite whose greed made them careless.

There is nothing wrong in wanting lower taxes provided it doesn't scrap services for the less wealthy. This agenda is a populist one fronting more extreme measures for reducing standards of living for the majority of us.
er, wrong!! i am a signed up member, i have never paid a penny to tpa(they rely on contributions) i earn less than 23k ... i am just massively P'd off with politicians 'tory and labour' taking the **** out of me!
[quote][p][bold]again[/bold] wrote: Taxpayers Alliance is an organisation of the wealthy elite. Their members have no difficulty paying for private health care, private homes for their elderly and they do not fear unemployment. We are in the state we find ourselves due largely to members of the wealthy elite whose greed made them careless. There is nothing wrong in wanting lower taxes provided it doesn't scrap services for the less wealthy. This agenda is a populist one fronting more extreme measures for reducing standards of living for the majority of us.[/p][/quote]er, wrong!! i am a signed up member, i have never paid a penny to tpa(they rely on contributions) i earn less than 23k ... i am just massively P'd off with politicians 'tory and labour' taking the **** out of me! oi oi savaloy

10:35am Thu 29 Nov 12

oi oi savaloy says...

james alexander is a hypocrite, he was protesting for gay rights only a few months back, how much did gay pride cost the council taxpayer?

how much did the cllr crisp/hissing sidley tweet incident cost the council tax payer?

these FOI's will no doubt be about the amount of people the CofYC as on over £100,000 p.a. , that equates to about 10 people (maybe more) the information is available , councillor expenses are well on the way to half a million...

so to sum up 49 requests totalling 5k, sounds like the admin want sacking for tossing it off...

oh yeah, if james alexander put is ipad down and shut twitter down and got on with his job, maybe he might be a bit more valuable to the council taxpayer? but then again i doubt it!
james alexander is a hypocrite, he was protesting for gay rights only a few months back, how much did gay pride cost the council taxpayer? how much did the cllr crisp/hissing sidley tweet incident cost the council tax payer? these FOI's will no doubt be about the amount of people the CofYC as on over £100,000 p.a. , that equates to about 10 people (maybe more) the information is available , councillor expenses are well on the way to half a million... so to sum up 49 requests totalling 5k, sounds like the admin want sacking for tossing it off... oh yeah, if james alexander put is ipad down and shut twitter down and got on with his job, maybe he might be a bit more valuable to the council taxpayer? but then again i doubt it! oi oi savaloy

11:31am Thu 29 Nov 12

Jeff_li says...

^ *!! Homophobic Troll Klaxon !!*
^ *!! Homophobic Troll Klaxon !!* Jeff_li

11:42am Thu 29 Nov 12

oi oi savaloy says...

Jeff_li wrote:
^ *!! Homophobic Troll Klaxon !!*
so he can protest for what he believes in but others cant protest in their beliefs!

no doubt you are a 'new labour' bigot..

there isnt one homophobic thing written above what you have posted...
[quote][p][bold]Jeff_li[/bold] wrote: ^ *!! Homophobic Troll Klaxon !!*[/p][/quote]so he can protest for what he believes in but others cant protest in their beliefs! no doubt you are a 'new labour' bigot.. there isnt one homophobic thing written above what you have posted... oi oi savaloy

5:18pm Thu 29 Nov 12

R'Marcus says...

JC42 wrote:
Why should people not protest??? we are sick and tired of everything going up.
The council are cutting services but they want us to pay more for them.
Quite right.
Cutting just about everything in the council should mean a cut in council tax, too.
Little James: look at your sums!¬
[quote][p][bold]JC42[/bold] wrote: Why should people not protest??? we are sick and tired of everything going up. The council are cutting services but they want us to pay more for them.[/p][/quote]Quite right. Cutting just about everything in the council should mean a cut in council tax, too. Little James: look at your sums!¬ R'Marcus

10:18am Fri 30 Nov 12

rat scabies says...

R'Marcus wrote:
JC42 wrote: Why should people not protest??? we are sick and tired of everything going up. The council are cutting services but they want us to pay more for them.
Quite right. Cutting just about everything in the council should mean a cut in council tax, too. Little James: look at your sums!¬
all sounds a bit strange this.. is James Alexander against 'freedom of information' ?

Is he also against the right to protest?

His statement againsT the TPA alone is a protest of sort!
[quote][p][bold]R'Marcus[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JC42[/bold] wrote: Why should people not protest??? we are sick and tired of everything going up. The council are cutting services but they want us to pay more for them.[/p][/quote]Quite right. Cutting just about everything in the council should mean a cut in council tax, too. Little James: look at your sums!¬[/p][/quote]all sounds a bit strange this.. is James Alexander against 'freedom of information' ? Is he also against the right to protest? His statement againsT the TPA alone is a protest of sort! rat scabies

12:33pm Fri 30 Nov 12

meme says...

Well JA you really have shot yourself in the foot
Anyone is entitled to FOI requests whether you like it or not and to suggest this is wrong is an infingement of our civil rights
Anyone can protest lawfully.
You may not like why or where but so long as they behave properly its legal and to suggest people cannot do either is downright wrong
Perhaps an apology is in order or an explanation of what you really meant
Well JA you really have shot yourself in the foot Anyone is entitled to FOI requests whether you like it or not and to suggest this is wrong is an infingement of our civil rights Anyone can protest lawfully. You may not like why or where but so long as they behave properly its legal and to suggest people cannot do either is downright wrong Perhaps an apology is in order or an explanation of what you really meant meme

2:54pm Sat 1 Dec 12

oi oi savaloy says...

meme wrote:
Well JA you really have shot yourself in the foot
Anyone is entitled to FOI requests whether you like it or not and to suggest this is wrong is an infingement of our civil rights
Anyone can protest lawfully.
You may not like why or where but so long as they behave properly its legal and to suggest people cannot do either is downright wrong
Perhaps an apology is in order or an explanation of what you really meant
seems j.a. Is not only against freedom of information but also against freedom of speech! Wasn't that the nazi policy?

Seems he had one of mine deleted but also a full thread of comments deleted according to his tweets! What did I miss?

seems a bit hypocritical to tweet sometime back "great comment @yorkpress" then post a picture of it when somebody is calling the Tories a shower of s**te! .... This maybe true, but when people diss him he goes running off to complain...
[quote][p][bold]meme[/bold] wrote: Well JA you really have shot yourself in the foot Anyone is entitled to FOI requests whether you like it or not and to suggest this is wrong is an infingement of our civil rights Anyone can protest lawfully. You may not like why or where but so long as they behave properly its legal and to suggest people cannot do either is downright wrong Perhaps an apology is in order or an explanation of what you really meant[/p][/quote]seems j.a. Is not only against freedom of information but also against freedom of speech! Wasn't that the nazi policy? Seems he had one of mine deleted but also a full thread of comments deleted according to his tweets! What did I miss? seems a bit hypocritical to tweet sometime back "great comment @yorkpress" then post a picture of it when somebody is calling the Tories a shower of s**te! .... This maybe true, but when people diss him he goes running off to complain... oi oi savaloy

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