That issue of the top one per cent of earners paying 28 per cent of Income Tax is going to get very old, very quickly.
We know that the Conservatives have reduced the tax burden on the richest earners in society – they eliminated the 50p tax rate altogether and they have been raising the threshold at which middle-income earners pay higher rates.
They have balanced this out by also raising the threshold at which low-income earners pay any tax at all.
What do you think is the logical outcome of all this?
It can only be that the Conservative Government intends to receive less money in Income Tax.
If the economy enjoys an upturn then other taxes may bring in more, but Income Tax, dependent on the amount an individual is paid, would react sluggishly – and, for the vast majority of people, pay has been stagnant since the Tories slithered back into office in 2010.
The claim that the top one per cent pay 28 per cent of Income Tax is, therefore, meaningless.
This Writer’s question was, taking inflation into account, whether the top one per cent were paying a larger amount in real terms, and the government has – so far – ignored it.
For obvious reasons?
Nicky Morgan, Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, went on the BBC’s Newsnight on Monday to defend the Government’s mantra of compassionate conservativism.
Evan Davis presented the Cabinet minister with a graph produced by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, which demonstrated the net gains and losses in the poorest and richest incomes, as a result of tax and benefit cuts over this Parliament.
The graph showed, in Davis’ words, “that the poorest are losing five to eight per cent of their net income and the top people on the right, the richest, are losing almost nothing.”
Davis asked how she would respond to that, having defended the line espoused by the prime minister that his party stood for “modern, compassionate, One Nation” conservativism.
Morgan pointed to other statistics to defend herself: “The fact is that by the end of this Parliament the top 20 per cent in this country will be paying more in tax than the other 80 per cent put together.”
Davis returned to the IFS figures: “Are you happy to call that ‘one nation conservatism’? ‘Compassionate conservatism’? ‘We’re all in this together’? Just look at it.”
Morgan said that she hadn’t seen the graph prior to coming on the show, and that she did not know if it included the new national living wage and raising of the income tax threshold.
Davis said that the graph included the raising of the income tax threshold and although it didn’t include the national living wage: “I could show you, but it actually doesn’t look very different if you put the national living wage in, the resolution foundation have done it, they all look like this.
“And you, the minister, the secretary of state, don’t even really know that that is what the government is doing, because you haven’t been presented with the data.”
Morgan replied: “I don’t sit there and study the IFS figures, but I look at the figures produced by the Treasury, and the statistic that the top 20 per cent are paying more in tax, the top one per cent pay 28 per cent of income tax.”
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