We have published our post-Budget briefing this morning, complete with graphical illustrations to complement its analysis of the Chancellor’s announcements.
The key findings are as follows:
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced a number of welcome measures to relieve the tax burden on struggling families in today’s Budget, including:
However, the TPA has warned that the Chancellor is still relying too much on complicated measures to help specific industries, rather than making fairer and simpler changes to the overall tax structure.
Reacting to today’s Budget, Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:
“George Osborne has announced welcome relief for people struggling with the high cost of living. The cut in beer tax, the freeze in fuel duty and the higher personal allowance will all ease the pressure on family budgets. Lower Employers’ National Insurance and Corporation Tax will also be passed on to workers in higher wages.”Unfortunately, the great limitation of this budget was that it relied far too much on complicated targeted reliefs instead of tax cuts across the board. Simpler, strategic tax reforms that reduce the overall burden would be fairer and do more to produce the stronger economy Britain needs.”
Writing in today’s Daily Telegraph, our Chief Executive, Matthew Sinclair argues that the Government tries its best to hide how much it takes – but the voters deserve the truth.
What is your actual rate of tax? Or, to put it another way, if your employer decided you were worth another £100, how much of that would the Government let you keep?
Ahead of Wednesday’s Budget, the TaxPayers’ Alliance asked YouGov to find out how much people thought those on an income of £25,000 – just below the national average – would be able to take home out of that £100.
Following the results of the YouGov poll we commissioned to survey people’s fiscal knowledge of our tax system and government spending we have put some of the questions online in the form of a quiz. How good is your fiscal knowledge?
The poll coincides with the launch of our new Fiscal Factbook that seeks to help inform the public about how much of our money government takes – and how it is spent.
The headline findings from the YouGov survey commissioned by the TaxPayers’ Alliance are as follows:
Despite those misunderstandings – which suggest that the public do not appreciate the full burden of government spending and taxes – most still believe that taxes and spending are too high, and do not expect the government to be able to afford pensioner benefits at their current level by the time they come to retire:
The Fiscal Factbook is a handy pocket-sized guide to how much the government takes from us in taxes, how that money is then spent and how much we really owe.
The 28-page booklet contains a number of eye-catching graphics to explain a variety startling statistics which every taxpayer should know.
Comment on the polling and release of the Fiscal Factbook, Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:
“Politicians have spent decades tinkering with our tax system and making it more and more complicated and opaque.”Far too many people now do not understand how much they are paying and why there is so much pressure on their living standards. But they do understand that the tax burden has got well out of hand. The belief that the Government can or should continue to spend more of our money is now confined to a radical fringe.”Politicians of all parties need to set out strategic reforms to create a much more open and honest tax system that leaves more money in people’s pockets.”
Burning Our Money, by former City and Treasury economist Mike Denham, exposes the wasteful spending and poor public sector performance that have left a huge hole in our public finances. Tackling wasteful spending and reforming public services would pave the way for the tax cuts required to revive the economy.
This new book finds shocking levels of waste in the big-ticket items of government expenditure, like the NHS, welfare and education.
How politicians burn our money:
Mike Denham, author of Burning Our Money and TaxPayers’ Alliance Research Fellow, said:
“Politicians are still spending far too much money and our public services are not delivering value. Successive governments have failed to tackle the waste and bureaucracy strangling our economy, and have failed to reform key areas like the NHS and welfare. Decades of evidence shows that simply throwing more money at public services does not improve them. The Government must face up to the gravity of the situation we’re in and map out a plan to cut spending and get more for less.”
Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:
“Despite all the talk of austerity, the Government continues to spend nearly half of our national income and is trying to pay for it with ever higher taxes. If we want to deliver the tax cuts that would give families and businesses a badly needed break, the Chancellor has to get a grip on spending. This brilliant book shows him how.”
The TaxPayers’ Alliance can today reveal how high taxes and new regulations could increase tax evasion by as much as £6 billion, the equivalent of over £200 for every family in the UK. Tax avoidance and tax evasion have become major political issues which politicians are under pressure to address.
Yet knee-jerk reactions which introduce more complicated regulations can create as many loopholes as they close. Politicians have a duty to fix our broken tax code with fundamental tax reform, but the easiest way to immediately limit tax avoidance and evasion is for them to stop doing things that make the problem worse.
As reported in today’s Daily Telegraph, experts and academics have shown that high taxes and burdensome regulations increase the extent of outright tax evasion, as well as choking off economic growth. High taxes on purchases, like VAT, sales taxes and excise duties, can also have an impact on the size of the shadow economy. A larger shadow economy is part of the price taxpayers pay for the high taxes and burdensome regulations imposed by politicians.
The key findings of this research are:
Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:
“People are angry when they see big companies and celebrities minimising their tax bills by exploiting loopholes and reliefs not available to the rest of us. It’s up to politicians to solve this problem, but there is a danger that rather than simplifying our complex tax code they are making things worse, costing hard-pressed taxpayers dearly. Fundamental tax reform is needed to create a simpler, fairer and more competitive tax system, but in the meantime politicians should stop doing things that make the problem worse. High taxes that increase evasion should be cut and burdensome regulations that are likely to make the problem worse should be scrapped. That would reduce the size of the shadow economy and make life easier for struggling families.”
Today we are launching a new campaign to stop the Government increasing taxes on drinks yet again at the Budget. Beer is already taxed more in the UK than in almost every other country in Europe – ten times as much per pint as they pay in Germany, for example.
Hundreds of thousands of beer mats showing people how much they are paying, and urging them to email their MP, have been sent to pubs around the country.
We really need your help and there are five ways you can get involved:
Tell your MP not to put up the price of your pint
Go to MashBeerTax.org and you can quickly and easily email your MP and urge them to oppose any rise in taxes on drinks.
Tell people about MashBeerTax.org
Let us know if you see the beer mats in your pub
We would really like to see the beer mats in action across the country. If you find one of our beer mats in your local pub, hold it up, take a picture and send it in to us with the name of the pub and the location to beertax@taxpayersalliance.
We will add your picture to the campaign Flickr account, plot your pub on our map and enter you in a draw to win a case of Shepherd Neame Spitfire Premium.
Get the beer mats in your local pub
While a lot of pubs do have the beer mats, we still have a few available. If you’re a pub landlord or you’ve convinced the landlord in your local to use them, let us know at [email protected] and we’ll send some out - while stocks last!
The beer mats only cost around 2p each. If you want to help us keep up the momentum for the campaign, and keep up the pressure on the politicians, then a donation of just £10 will allow us to get another 500 printed, which we can then distribute to more pubs.
There are several ways you can donate to our MashBeerTax campaign:
Rory Meakin wrote for the Spectator Coffee House blog yesterday about how the Single Income Tax answers a lot of our economic questions:
‘Isn’t there a case for looking at the whole system at some point?’ whispered Isabel on Tuesday when MPs criticised the taxman again. Well, yes, there is.
Last May, the 2020 Tax Commission published its final report, setting out the moral, economic and practical case for lower, simpler taxes.
The key findings of this research are:
Reacting to the report, Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:
“Taxpayers are still paying far too much for bloated bureaucracies that have been established in too many town halls over the last decade. It is incredible that some councils have even increased spending on high earning staff this year after a decade in which council tax doubled across the country and when every local authority needs to find savings and ease the burden. In those cases where it is the result of redundancy payments then we need to see the savings soon. Councillors need to insist that their local authority does more to find savings and cut back on staff costs that residents cannot afford.”
Below is a list of councils planning to hike Council Tax in 2013-14 according to either local media reports or council documents. There are currently 81 on our list and we will keep updating it. Please let us know if your council is planning a rise and is not on our list. If your council has previously announced an intention to raise Council Tax, but has reversed its decision, please let us know.
Aylesbury Vale 2%
Brighton and Hove 2%
Burnley BC 1.99%
Cannock Chase 2%
Chelmsford BC 1.98%
Cheshire West & Chester 1.9%
Chichester DC £5
Derby City Council 1.55%
East Cambridgeshire 2%
East Lindsey 4.4%
Guildford BC 1.9%
Huntingdonshire DC 3.63%
Kingston upon Thames 1.99%
Medway Council 1.99%
North Dorset DC 4.77%
North Hertfordshire DC 1.9%
North Somerset 1.5%
Norwich City Council 1.95%
Reigate and Banstead 2%
South Cambridgeshire 4.3%
South Hams 3.5%
South Kesteven 4%
Southend on Sea 1.75%
Telford & Wrekin 1.9%
Tunbridge Wells 1.9%
West Berkshire Council 2%
West Devon BC 1.9%
Reacting to to Councils Tax rises Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said:
“Townhalls hiking Council Tax are placing an intolerable burden on already struggling families. These tax rises hit the poorest households the hardest and after a decade in which Council Tax nearly doubled the last thing taxpayers need are further hikes. The councils exploiting loopholes or planning increases just under the threshold to dodge referendums are showing utter contempt for local taxpayers. The majority of councils are freezing Council Tax, some are even cutting it. The rest should follow suit rather than picking peoples pocket’s once again.”
Reacting to calls for Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to be nationalised and the expected fines for Libor manipulation at the bank, Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:
“If taxpayers want to invest in RBS, they can. They don’t need Vince Cable or any other politician to step in and invest on their behalf. Spending reductions have to be made so it would be senseless to shell out more taxpayers’ cash on nationalising RBS. It would also expose families to greater risk and put them on the hook for more of the bank’s bad debts.
“The focus of RBS bosses and Ministers should be paying back the taxpayers who propped up the bank. They should sell our stake in RBS as soon as is practically possible, so it can be run by shareholders who can sell their shares if they disagree with the institution’s direction. For as long as taxpayers continue to prop up RBS they will be exposed to the repercussions of the bank’s actions, not least punitive fines for Libor manipulation. “