What Is Being Taxed?

Many people know what their gross income is, but what about net? What about after national insurance contributions? How much of a tank of petrol is tax? How much of a pint of beer? It is estimated that in the UK 41% of Net National Income is paid to the government through various taxes. And once something is taxed initially governments find it easy to increase the rate of tax in line with inflation, even when wages are not increasing at the same rate.

Through our campaigns we raise awareness of exactly how much household income goes straight to the taxman and how much many items are subject to the various forms of taxation. One example of our work in this area is our TPA Tax Buster which calculates exactly how much you have to earn to buy your goods and how much of that the taxman takes


How Are Taxes Being Spent?

Government money is taxpayer money and therefore the taxpayer should be able to see how this money is used and holding the government accountable for spending. This is not possible without transparency.

Individuals and groups would be able to do much more to identify potential cuts and help drive greater efficiency with spending transparency. We also advocate that information published on spending transparency should be useful and meaningful, for example releasing data in an understandable format.

We've already made some gains in this area such as the COINS database, local council reporting of salaries in response to our Town Hall Rich Lists, full disclosure of MPs expenses and more. You can read about all our victories in spending transparency here.

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Our research on quangos and particularly who sits on their boards raised some eyebrows. The sheer number of missed meetings is certainly a significant problem for one simple reason – these board members are paid by the UK taxpayers, and the least that can be expected from them in return is to turn up and do the job. If someone misses the majority of their meetings questions should be asked about their commitment to the job. Especially while there may be other qualified individuals who could sit on the board, and hence such cases of absenteeism represent a significant loss on behalf of taxpayers.
In the Spending Review the government committed to help councils manage their assets and art, local government transparency code will also be amended to make sure things are much clearer.
Our Research Director, Alex Wild, wants British Councils to be transparent on the benefit they get from attending the MIPIM Confrence - the world's largest property show, held every Spring on the French Riviera.
Cast your mind back to this time last year, and you may remember the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announcing with some fanfare the beginning of the Rose Review into NHS Management. Chaired by Lord Rose, the former Marks & Spencer Chief Executive, the review would assess how NHS hospitals could ensure they have “the very best leaders to help transform the culture” of care across the Health Service and monitor the quality of management within them.