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Tax should not be considered as a burden | Budget 2024 (spring)

Tax should not be considered as a burden | Budget 2024 (spring)
Tax should not be considered as a burden | Budget 2024 (spring)


In the weary discussion leading up to last Wednesday’s budget, much was made of the fact that the current level of taxation is at its “highest level since 1948” (Budget 2024, 6 March). I have seen no mention of the fact that the taxes then were designed to benefit the whole population through the Attlee government’s establishment of a different way of running a country.

Poor people would, for the first time, have access to the benefits of a modern welfare state: health, social care, education and libraries, all free at the point of use, and new standards of housing at modest cost. It’s sad that our national debate now is narrowly mean-minded.

Implicit is a view that the poor (as opposed to “hard-working families”) are out to live a life on benefits and so must be curbed and controlled, the wealthy have the right to have as much access to the dwindling welfare benefits of society as do the less well-off, and that healthcare, through the NHS, can continue to be run on a shoestring, unworthy of greater investment because, apparently, we can always turn to the private healthcare market. Surely it’s time for real change.
Gillian Dalley
London

In your pre-budget editorial (29 February), you rather undermined the thrust of your argument regarding tax cuts for the well‑off by using the description “tax burden”. This two-word phrase is an example of how rightwing terminology has hijacked discussions about government finances.

Tax is not (or should not be considered as) a burden. It is instead a contribution to the general wellbeing and, as such, ought to be accepted by those who can easily afford it with thanks for their good fortune. Those with the highest incomes or wealth must correspondingly expect to be asked to make a suitably sufficient contribution and so relieve those less fortunate of the impact on theirs.

I am, however, struggling to think of a word to use to replace “burden” in the formulation to better reflect this. “Tax contribution” is too neutral, “tax expectation” too much like burden. Subvention perhaps, or even subscription? Paying your subs to society does have a nice ring to it.
Jack D Stephen
Markinch, Fife

It should be no surprise that a family with two children and a gross income of £74,000 is struggling (‘It’s all fallen flat’: households earning more than £60,000 on how they are struggling financially, 4 March). Treasury figures published last week show that a household consisting of two adults and two children and an income of £74,000 would be in the sixth decile. A single adult household with a gross income of £74,000 would be the top decile. Their income tax liabilities could be the same. The family of four is being taxed as if it is in the top 10%.

The chancellor, in his budget statement, chose to ignore this. High-earning families therefore will continue to struggle. Those with lower incomes will struggle even more. The Treasury figures show that a family on £37,500 is in the second decile but would be paying the same tax as a taxpayer without children in the seventh decile. Does the chancellor realise how out of line income tax liabilities are with taxpayers’ living standards? A way has to be found for taking account of household situations. This is what happens in many other countries.
Don Draper
Tax and the Family

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