Briefing: sustained tax burden at highest level since 1951

  • In 2021-22 the share of GDP extracted in tax, the ‘tax burden’, will reach its highest level in 52 years at 34.2 per cent of GDP.

  • The previous high was a one-year spike in 1969-70. Smoothing out volatility with five-year averages shows the tax burden is now at its highest sustained level since 1951, the highest level in 70 years.

  • HM Treasury plans raise Britain’s historic-high sustained tax burden even higher over the next five years.

  • Next year, total receipts will hit a 36-year high at 38 per cent of GDP. The five-year average of total receipts is this year at a 35-year high, at 38 per cent of GDP.

  • The tax burden under prime minister Boris Johnson is likely to be higher than it has been since Clement Attlee.



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