Written by John O'Connell and originally published in the Sun
Over the next few weeks we are going to have to endure politicians constantly knocking on the door and popping up on TV.
But for most of us, life won’t change much. Wake up, shower, cook breakfast, buy your copy of The Sun, drive to work, do work, pop to the shops on your lunch break, pick up the kids from school, have dinner, watch some TV.
Perhaps you’ll go online and book that short holiday you’ve been working hard for. Kiss the kids goodnight and head to bed for a well-earned kip. Typical day.
And nearly all of those activities involve forking out money to the taxman — you pay tax on your energy bills, filling up the car, watching TV, buying things you need at the shop, flights abroad, your wages, your home and more.
Small wonder, then, that Britain is under the biggest tax burden in 50 years. And hard-left socialists think we should pay more? Give me a break. In fact, politicians should give us all a break — and let us keep more of the money we sweated to earn. Funnily enough, a lot of you agree. The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) has conducted landmark national polling to find out what the nation really thinks. And with an election on the horizon, our poll reveals that around half of voters want to see a 5p cut in the basic rate of income tax.
Almost seven in ten liked what they heard from Boris Johnson during the Tory leadership contest and want to see tax thresholds go up in line with inflation or wage growth, to keep taxes down and so people don’t move into new bands by stealth.
“Fine,” the commentators will sneer, “but that’s not what people want. More than anything, what they want in this election is higher spending.”
Well, our polling found that support for solid tax cuts — such as a reduction to the basic rate — was much higher among typical taxpayers than the middle-class professionals who make up the Westminster bubble.
Take council tax, for instance. It rose an average of 4.5 per cent in England, and in every local authority in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland last year. It topped our poll, with 83 per cent of working-class voters demanding a cap on council tax rises.
As one man in Walsall put it to us: “It’s the one tax you really notice. You have to pay it every month. And you get nothing for it.” Yet it rarely features on the minds of MPs, who are more interested in talking about the millions and billions they want to spend.
The same goes for the TV licence fee. In a blow to the main political parties, who want to continue the BBC licence fee as it stands, the poll also shows almost 70 per cent of working-class voters want to scrap the TV tax.
This was a full 28 per cent higher than support among middle-class voters, one of the biggest differences found between the two groups. But once again, the election campaign is likely to be led more by politicians’ bias and unwillingness to upset their BBC buddies than by offering ordinary families a tax cut worth hundreds of pounds every year.
Fundamentally, many people in Westminster go into this campaign without a clue what typical taxpayers want. Despite a widespread belief in SW1 that this group is “anti big business”, in fact they are more than twice as likely as professional voters to back cutting corporation tax to 12.5 per cent, the same level as Ireland’s.
Around seven in ten believe that local councils should reduce business rates on high street shops. Focus groups from Walsall, Stoke and Bristol proved that typical taxpayers are ahead of the politicians and understand the importance of prosperity and businesses as big employers for their towns.
The poll shows that these people — many of whom are the swing voters likely to decide the impact of the next election — are supportive of policies aimed to help both local firms and start-ups, as well as big national employers, given the benefits they bring to their towns and to Britain.
The picture painted by Corbyn and others, that the public are ready to junk capitalism completely, could not be further from the truth. Don’t get me wrong. A reasonable level of tax is necessary.
British people pay for, and deserve, world-leading public services. There are millions of folk who go out every day to put in a shift delivering those services. At hospitals, schools, police and fire stations all over the country — and overseas, making sure we can live in peace.
We need those public services. But that’s why it is all the more unacceptable when politicians and bureaucrats waste your money — and then whack up taxes and ask for even more.
The TPA — and of course, your trusted Sun — seem to be some of the few people fighting the corner for pro-freedom, low-tax voters across the country.
Many in Westminster reckon they know better than hard-working Brits — give us your cash, they say, and we’ll decide to give some of it back to you in higher public spending.
We’re clever, they argue — we know what’s good for you. It’s patronising, and instead we should trust Brits to deliver prosperity for themselves, their families and the country.