A Ten Minute Rule Motion allows MPs to introduce a bill on a subject of their choice, making a ten-minute speech to explain their proposal. Outlining his proposal, Ben said:
“My Bill makes the simple proposition that we should be told how our money is spent. It would cost very little but would have a radical effect on our democracy. It would help voters to hold us—their representatives—to account and, in so doing, would go some way towards repairing our fissured democracy at a time when we representatives of the people must make increasingly difficult decisions on the people’s behalf.”
Almost all bills based on a Ten Minute Rule Motion never make it past their first reading. But coupled with an intensive campaign, Ben’s proposal was adopted by the chancellor three months later in his budget. As a result, from 2014 every self-assessment taxpayer will receive an annual breakdown of how much tax they paid and it was spent; PAYE-only taxpayers will be included at a later date. For the first time, taxpayers will be told in clear and simple terms how much they spend on education, welfare, the European Union, defence and every other area of public spending.
Ben was praised by the media for so unusual an achievement. The campaign won him the admiration of the Taxpayers Alliance, who made him ‘Pin-up of the Month’; he was shortlisted for the ‘Campaign of the Year’ by Total Politics magazine; and the Sun, which endorsed the proposal in its editorial, made him its ‘Hero of the Week’.