Would you like to know exactly how the Government is spending the money you pay in taxes?
In July last year, our dear leader Dave told us all about his new 'era of transparency' and why we need it. “ It lets people hold the powerful to account, giving them the tools they need to take on politicians and bureaucrats. It gives people new choices and chances, allowing them to make informed judgments about their future. And it lets our professionals judge themselves against one another.”
All good stuff, and in keeping with his party’s aims, Tory MP Ben Gummer (Ipswich) is launching a new campaign to make the Government tell us exactly what our taxes have been spent on.
Under the proposals, every worker in Britain will receive an annual statement showing exactly how every pound they pay in tax is spent by the Government. The statements should be personalised according to each taxpayer’s salary, so everyone can know exactly how much of their tax bill is allocated to each public service.
Mr Gummer, who will present a ten-minute bill to the House of Commons told The Sun: "It's time we knew where our taxes go. Taxpayers must pay tax — it is only right the Government tells us how it spends our money."
Mock-up version of the tax breakdown suggests that a worker earning the annual average salary of £26,000 (this figure ring any bells for benefit claimants?) faces an income tax and national insurance bill of £6,134. Out of that sum:
> £1,109 goes on the NHS, the second largest single recipient of tax money
> £835 is spent on education
> £85 is spent on roads (in addition to your road fund licence) and £70 on railways
> £646 on Public Protection, including £159 for the Police, and £107 for Waste and Environment, including £66 for rubbish collection (all on top of your council tax bill)
Of course, the largest proportion of the average person’s tax bill, £2,135 or almost 35%, goes toward paying out benefits and pensions. To other people. Who you don’t even know. And probably don't like. It is also remarkably convenient that this figure comes out just as the Government announce plans to cap the amount of benefits that one family can receive to the, now familiar, £26,000 a year.
Mr Gummer continued: “When we pay for shopping or phone calls, a bill reveals how much we've been charged and for what. But when we pay tax — for most people their biggest single monthly payment — we are told nothing.”
“This is wrong. We have no choice but to pay tax. The Government should have no choice but to tell us how it has spent our money,” he finished.
Stern stuff. It remains to be seen whether these statements do become a reality, and if they do, whether it will actually have any effect. After all, we all know exactly where our Council Tax is spent, but that doesn’t give us any leverage to change those amounts. Does it? And who knows what they do with all the cash from indirect taxes, like VAT, alcohol duties etc...