Tax burden on Britons 'surges to 50-year high'

Philip Hammond’s repeated rhetoric about him and his government helping “hard-working families” is being undermined by fresh tax figures.

Disclosed by a Sunday newspaper, the figures show that the tax burden on families has surged to its highest level in half a century, despite the chancellor’s claims at this year’s Budget and Spring Statement to be championing families.

In fact, according to data analysed for the Sunday Telegraph by the TaxPayers’ Alliance, Britain’s tax burden now stands at a record 34.6 per cent -- so approaching one-third, and up from a recent low of 32.7 per cent in 2015.

“For all the talk of increasing taxes to help the poorest the truth is that the steady increase of the tax burden often hits precisely those families the hardest,” said the alliance’s John O’Conner.

He also told the paper that at odds with Britain, countries like the US and Australia were cutting taxes in order to boost their economies, and he says the UK should do the same.  

But underlining just how far the government would have to go, it would need to abolish CGT, scrap IHT, air passenger duty and stamp duty, halve national insurance and cut income tax to get to a less onerous tax burden of 28.5 per cent.

Calls by lobbyists for new levies on a range of items and activities, including digital services, were cited as evidence of how the tax burden can inexorably creep up but, defending its record, the government pointed out that it has cut taxes for 32 million people by increasing the personal allowance since 2010.

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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