TaxPayers’ Alliance reveals one thousand Tory tax hikes in ten years

Embargoed: 00:01 Sunday 28 February 2021


  • Of 1,651 tax changes since 2010, 63 per cent were tax rises. VAT, vehicle excise duty and income tax saw the most changes.

  • Currently, Boris Johnson is the only leader to introduce slightly more cuts than rises, though this may change if taxes are hiked at the budget.

  • Research contains a breakdown of the number of changes to each tax over the last decade.


Ahead of the budget on Wednesday, the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) has identified 1,034 tax rises under Conservative prime ministers since 2010. 

The research shows that Tory prime ministers have implemented a total of 1,651 tax changes in the last decade, of which 63 per cent were tax hikes. The total amount collected in tax will increase by £172 billion in real terms between 2009-10 and 2021-22, according to OBR figures.

Boris Johnson is so far the only leader since 2010 to introduce more tax cuts than rises. This is largely due to the temporary tax cuts and new reliefs to tackle the economic effects of covid-19. 

The most net tax rises happened during David Cameron’s leadership, with both the greatest number of tax changes and tax rises in a single year in 2012-13. He also oversaw the biggest number of tax cuts in a single year, cutting 83 taxes in the last full year before the 2015 election. Under Theresa May, there were over twice as many tax rises as there were cuts

Britain already has the highest sustained tax burden in 70 years and hiking taxes now would mean further austerity for taxpayers. The TPA is calling for a recovery budget on Wednesday, giving taxpayers a respite from rises, rescuing struggling sectors and reviving the economy.




Key Findings:


  • Since May 2010, Conservative or Conservative-led governments have implemented at least 1,651 tax changes. Of these, 1,034 or (63 per cent) were tax rises.

  • The greatest number of tax changes was in 2012-13 with 189. The greatest number of tax rises occurred in 2012-13 with 132. The greatest number of tax cuts occurred in 2014-15, the last full year of the Conservative – Liberal Democrat coalition, with 83.

  • The only year since 2010 with more tax cuts than rises was 2020-21, with 78 of the 151 tax changes being cuts.

  • Vehicle excise duty was the tax with the largest number of changes over the period with 258. Of these, 248 were tax rises.

  • Value added tax (VAT) had the greatest number of tax cuts since May 2010 with 130. This includes the abolishment of VAT on female sanitary products in 2021. However, this is largely offset by 126 tax rises over the same period. These include VAT being charged on mobile phones and the standard rate rising from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent.

  • The majority of tax changes concerned indirect taxes, such as alcohol, fuel and tobacco duties. These accounted for 1,146 or (69 per cent) of the 1,651 tax changes implemented since May 2010.

  • According to the OBR, national account taxes – the amount of revenue the government receives in taxes each year – have increased by £172 billion in real terms between 2009-10 and 2020-21.


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

“The tax burden is at a 70-year high, and it's not hard to see why after a decade of tax increases.
“All too often we've seen Conservative chancellors give with one hand but take back a good deal more with the other, meaning every aspect of everyday life comes with a sizeable tax bill.
“This budget offers the government an opportunity to break with their predecessors from the last decade by giving taxpayers a respite from tax rises.”


TPA spokesmen 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. The TaxPayers’ Alliance found that the average tax burden is the highest in 70 years.

  4. The TaxPayers’ Alliance’s budget asks, including continuing the VAT cut and business rates holiday, would give the hospitality and leisure industries £13 billion of tax savings this year.
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