Why so concerned about tax?

The chart below shows a breakdown of where my monthly gross income goes. I’m earning in the region of £30k/year, above the London average but not exactly an enormous sum.

One of my favourite adages is that British people want Scandinavian public services with American tax levels.  Raising taxes to tackle the deficit is treated as something approaching political suicide. But do we pay all that much in tax?

Put aside the fact that at 36% of the UK’s GDP, the current tax level is lower than under Margaret Thatcher (when it dipped to 40%) and much lower than the Swedish level of around 50%.

How does tax affect me? Well my income tax and council tax, which pay for all the basic public services, the roads, waste collection, public transport investment, welfare for people in harder circumstances and much more account for less than my rent, which pays for my half of a flat with my fiancee. My national insurance and pension contributions that are hopefully securing my retirement add up to much less than my rent as well. Since I don’t spend a great deal on clothes, cars, TVs and the like, I’m not too affected by indirect taxes like VAT either.

After all those taxes and basic life expenses, I still have 35% of my gross income left over for fun, holidays, personal savings and the like.

If I were to get pissed off about someone taking all my money, my first target would be the property market. Look how much money I have to spend just to afford a reasonable flat in an area I like! Then there’s my inability to afford to buy a home making my future less secure, low interest rates on my ISA bond and in the short term the likely rises in bus and train fares due to spending cuts.

Yep, all things considered I think tax is the least of my financial worries.

Anyone on similar or higher incomes who crows about tax levels should stop for a moment and think about the majority who earn less and stand to lose a great deal from public spending cuts.


  1. Vicky said:

    I agree with you, but people just panic at the very thought of it!

    It annoyed me so much when Michael Caine was moaning about paying higher taxes in this country, he’s rich so what’s he got to complain about?

    28th May 2010
  2. lida said:

    I agree with you, but people just panic at the very thought of it!

    11th June 2010
  3. Ron said:

    A blog, the perfect place to crow to the world about how much one gets paid, and how comfortable one’s life is compared to others. 30k ‘not exactly an enormous sum’? Disgusting. Try working as a family support officer for social services for 18. Try working on Rye Lane for a hell of a lot less. Suggestion for what to say next time you decide to go around campaigning: “Hi, my name is Tom. I earn around 30k a year, which isn’t exactly an enormous sum. I think I should represent you”.

    12th June 2010
    • Tom Chance said:

      Ron, I’ve no idea where that bitterness comes from but take it somewhere else please. It’s not like I don’t write a lot on my blog, and work on, trying to improve things for Londoners earning about the average or less than that. In fact that’s exactly how I ended this blog entry.

      You have a pretty low tolerance if you think it’s disgusting to state that an income just slightly above the London average (and actually below the full time average) isn’t an enormous sum.

      12th June 2010

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