Posts Tagged ‘budget’

My stomach lurched as I arrived home from work yesterday afternoon. On the doormat was a brown paper envelope from the Inland Revenue addressed to me. It’s never good news – I’m not one of these people to ever get a tax rebate – no – it’s usually because they’ve underestimated how much I owe them or they’re writing to tell me my coding is wrong. (As if it’s my fault).

So imagine my astonishment and delight when, upon opening, the first thing I see in large bold letters are the words: ‘… this is not a demand for payment.’

Relief! Even more delightful, the tax office with its new tax-payer-friendly approach is sending out Annual Tax Summaries. Whoop-de-do!  I have my very own, no expenses spared ‘personalised summary,’ presented in a beautiful two page multi-colour document, outlining the ways in which the tax I pay each year is spent. On one side there’s a column of figures detailing exactly how much of my payment goes where and on the other, a stripy pie chart where I can see at a glance the proportions to which the government in its wisdom has shared out my tax and National Insurance Contributions to the greater good. Or not.


Well, it’s not wise. Just look at the sections. Pretty much a quarter on Welfare; roughly a fifth on Health; a measly little slither for the Culture and Environment segments.  I made myself a cup of tea and got the calculator out. I began working out percentages, which for me is no mean feat, I can tell you.

I don’t really want 24.6% of my contributions to go on Welfare while I’m only paying 1.6% to sports, libraries and museums; I don’t want them to contribute at all to housing and utilities (e.g. street lighting – their example) because I thought that’s what we paid our extortionate council taxes for. I would prefer for them to shove a bit more towards Business and Industry (currently only 2.7%) in the hope that this will provide more training and apprenticeship opportunities to get people off benefits and into work, thereby lessening some of the Welfare need.

But what I really, really do not want is to contribute 2% to Government Administration so they can send me out an Annual Tax Summary. What a waste of time and resources. It’s not as if it’s going to change anything, is it?

Or perhaps it might. In light of the result of this week’s by-election, won by the suitably monickered Mr Reckless (can you believe it – it’s like playing Happy Families) and bearing in mind there is a general election looming next year I’m not sure that these summaries, being sent out to every tax payer in the country was the wisest move. Political feeling in the country is running higher than it has done for decades. Mr Reckless’ party must be rubbing its hands with glee. Sending hard-working folk palpable evidence of government spending is like handing out touch papers.

Stand well back. The times they are a-changing.

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