Post-Budget analysis reveals tax burden to rise to highest since 1950

For immediate release

Following the budget, new research from the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) has revealed that the tax burden is scheduled to reach a 73 year high (from 1950 to 2023-24). It means that the level of taxation as a percentage of GDP under Boris Johnson will be
higher than it has been since Clement Attlee. This updates previous TPA work on the scale of the tax burden.

The research found that in his postwar government, Winston Churchill reduced the tax burden more than any other postwar prime minister, by 4.5 percentage points. It also shows that taxes were lower during Churchill’s premiership than they have been under each of the last three Conservative prime ministers. The biggest rise in taxation came under Labour’s Harold Wilson, who oversaw a 4.6 percentage point increase.




Key findings:

  • Next year, the share of GDP extracted in tax – the ‘tax burden’ – will reach its highest level in 53 years at 35.0 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 next year at its highest sustained level since 1951, the highest level in 71 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 38-year high at 38.8 per cent of GDP. The five-year average of total receipts is this year at a 36-year high, at 37.8 per cent of GDP.

  • Every post-war British prime minister has left office with a lower tax burden than Boris Johnson plans for 2024-25.

  • The average tax burden under Boris Johnson will be higher than every post-war prime minister since Clement Attlee.


John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:

“While there were welcome tax cuts on business rates and alcohol duties, today’s budget confirms that we’re facing the highest overall tax burden in a generation.

“By the time of the next election, the sustained tax burden looks set to be the highest it’s been since the country was recovering from the second world war over 70 years ago.

“The chancellor acknowledged the cost of living crisis in his speech but over the coming years he must do more to ease the burden on hard-up families and businesses.”


TPA spokespeople are available for live and pre-recorded broadcast interviews via 07795 084 113 (no texts)

Media contact:

Danielle Boxall
Media Campaign Manager, TaxPayers' Alliance
[email protected]
24-hour media hotline: 07795 084 113 (no texts)


Notes to editors:

  1. Founded in 2004 by Matthew Elliott and Andrew Allum, the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) campaigns to reform taxes and public services, cut waste and speak up for British taxpayers. Find out more at

  2. TaxPayers' Alliance's advisory council.

  3. Click here to see the TaxPayers’ Alliance response to the Budget.
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