The independent London newspaper

A shake-up of the tax system would help

29 November, 2019

• SORTING through bills and receipts, I came across my tax code for this year, Accompanying it was an informative statement of how last year’s tax was spent.

For my convenience it was set out as a pie chart and as parts of my £1,485 tax bill. This was just after seeing a persuasive post on Facebook proposing that we stop any overseas aid and use the money to increase UK pensions and, of course, follows three years of debate about giving our EU membership fees to the NHS.

The statement told me that of the tax I paid in 2018 only £10 had gone to EU and just £17 to overseas aid 0.7 and 1.2 per cent respectively. I was somewhat surprised to see only 7.3 per cent on defence and 12 per cent on education.

The mere 1.6 per cent on environmental costs, of which flood defence is just one small part, seems to bear out complaints from the flooded north and midlands about the need to spend more on flood defences. The greater part of my taxation had gone on welfare, pensions and the NHS.

Now, my £1,485 was tax on state and occupational pensions, and I don’t mind paying a fair share of funding generally important things through taxation.

What is annoying is that I am charged £1,485 on my pension, while the owners of the Mail, Telegraph, Sun and Times live away from the UK and pay nothing on their profits.

The excuse is that they are “non-dom”, not domiciled in the UK for tax purposes. But I also pay US tax (not very much, because I don’t earn much) because my eBook distributer is US-based and the US taxation includes a “withholding tax” of 30 per cent if you are a non-US taxpayer. I’d say if you earn your money or make your profit in the UK you should pay your tax in the UK.

If everybody paid a fare share of tax and nobody avoided tax on huge incomes just because they could, we’d be able to afford most spending plans proposed in the various election manifestos and do something realistic about the NHS, climate crisis, flood defences, housing, police, and knife crime. And maybe have some left to lower taxes.

Islington Green Party


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