George Osborne felt a bit of pressure at last night's ConservativeHome Awards Evening for his cautious approach to relieving the burden of taxation but there was a warm welcome for his idea of giving taxpayers a website via which they can find out where their tax pounds are going.
That welcome has been most pronounced on Wat Tyler's Burning Our Money site...
"Let's face it, BOM has been grimly unimpressed by George Osborne's timidity on tax and spend. But now at last he's done something we can wholeheartedly applaud. Yesterday he announced the Tories would be introducing a Government Spending Transparency Bill... It would be modelled on the new US Act just signed into law by President Bush... So hurrah! Doubtless our current high spending government will find some reason why we can't have it, but come 2010, we will expect it to be right up there on George's list."
Wat's welcome may have something to do with the fact that he proposed the very idea of 100policies.com a few weeks ago. Wat's idea - inspired by George W Bush's recent initiative - is the first 100 policy idea that's made it on to the Tory agenda. The first of many, let's hope.
The reason why George Osborne's Follow the Money website [I think Follow Your Money might have been slightly more apposite] is such a sound initiative in that the transparency it will bring will force politicians and bureaucrats to think twice about every expenditure they approve. Labour already dread headlines about the Treasury's taxi expenses or Downing Street's drinks bill... With new transparency every local newspaper in the land, every blog and The Taxpayers' Alliance's Bumper Book of Government Waste will have a field day exposing fat government projects and suggesting better ways in which the taxpayers' money could be spent. George Osborne's initiative may not sound as sexy as a promise of a specific tax cut but it has great potential to empower thousands and thousands of people to keep a close eye of government waste.
PS Apologies for the recent lack of 100 policies ideas. There is a backlog and I just need to find the time to go through them. Apologies to those patiently waiting to see their
brainchildsbrainchildren given a public outing.