Saturday, December 23, 2006

Gordon Brown's Record Tax Burden

Figures from the Office of National Statistics prove what most of us have known for some time, we're paying higher taxes than at any time in living memory. In 1997 we paid 18.7%, yet in 2006 a record 23.6p of every £1 earned is taken - and that's before Council tax, VAT, car and petrol tax etc. Last year the tax burden rose by 6.7%, outstripping wage increases of 4.6%.
And yet we are being told that our economy is performing brilliantly, that everything in the garden is rosy. If that were so, taxes would be coming down, not going up.

This is a major opportunity for the Conservatives to exploit in 2007. Let's hope they grab it.


Anonymous said...

"Living memory"? You are older than me and I certainly remember a higher tax burden under the Tories in the mid eighties.

Neil Craig said...

The economy is not doing "brilliantly". Our growth is 2.5%, the world average is 5%. that means we don't reach mediocre.

You also don't mention corporation tax which doesn't come directly out of our pockets but obviously does at 2nd hand. The high tax & low growth are not unrelated. Personally I would rather, if the Tories cut taxes, they aim for corporation taxes. They wouldn't get the quick popularity income tax cuts mean but would get longer term respect from thoughtful people of all parties.

Vlad the Impala said...

The Conservative Party's consistent and persistent weakness in mounting an informed attack on Brown's economic policies as well (and more importantly) on the erosion of our democracy is pathetic. A year into Cameron's leadership, I have yet to meet a politically-informed friend/colleague/acquiantance who is other than disappointed at the Conservative's failure to address the many open targets provided by Labour -- including your excellent piece on Ian Blair and John Reid's scaremongering.

Anonymous said...

The largest part of the UK economy is based on consumer spending, largely fuelled by debt, a huge part of which is mortgage equity withdrawal courtesy of the unsustainable bubble in house prices.

When the inevitable happens and this housing bubble bursts (probably next year) watch the UK fall into recession or even worse, stagflation, if inflation continues to increase.

Whether profligate Brown is still Chancellor or has become leader by then I would expect to see the Tories wipe the floor with him for his disastrous and dishonest stewardship of the economy.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you invite Polly Toynbee onto 18 Doughty St to discuss this issue. She is a great fan both of Gordon Brown and of higher taxation: I'm sure she will be delighted to accept.


Lerxst said...

Clearly there's a very strong point to be made here - and it shows what Brown is really about. However, let's get the facts right in making it: the tax burden is the 'highest since records began' - which was only in 1987. So talking about 'highest in living memory' is just a bit misleading and has the potential to look very silly.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

vlad, I share your frustration at the Tory party's silence on our punitive levels of taxation. In fact, it's worse than silence; it's almost connivance. But I am equally frustrated when friends (middle class, fairly prosperous, but economically illiterate) tell me they are in favour of high taxation.

Surely the point is, our tax system is bleeding the poor. Even people on the minimum wage are paying income tax, for God's sake! Why aren't the Tories making this specific point, day in and day out?

A friend of mine, who used to work in catering (a low pay industry) has seen women weep when they look at their payslips and see how much the government takes.

javelin said...

The only time tax burden was high was after the tories inherited a crap economy from the Labour Party. Fortunately for the British people the Tories turned the economy around. Now the Labour Party keep hitting the self destruct button and will again hand over an inefficient and corrupt economy back to the Tories to save again.

Voyager said...

The economy is not doing "brilliantly". Our growth is 2.5%, the world average is 5%. that means we don't reach mediocre.

Britain's natural growth rate is 3% before the trade deficit that we have no manufacturing which provides 66% exports, we have a trade deficit at lower growth levels.

In Brownworld growth in GDP at Market Prices is caused by house-price inflation not in increased Output of Goods

Anonymous said...

This is phoney, sorry Iain. There are more people in employment, there is a national minimum wage, and whatever your stats about wage increases we all know that top people's pay (and the 41% being reasonably subtracted from this) have rocketed over the period. The "tax burden" inevitably rises with more people in work, more people earning substantially more than a living wage and in higher tax brackets, more people buying luxury goods with VAT on them etc etc etc. We are not overtaxed. Theye are plenty of little fixes around the edges for your readers to reduce their tax burden. This store os hokey and bogus.

steven said...

chris p, the story was only about income tax and NI. It does not include any indirect taxation on individuals. Would he care to expand on the 'little fixes around the edge' that people can use to reduce their tax. I am sure that people on minimum wage would be glad of the help they can buy from their accountant or investment advisor.