Friday, June 01, 2007
As Gordon Brown limbers up to change jobs, after holding only one office of state over the last 10 years (Chancellor of the Exchequer), Grant Thornton have issued a timely reminder as to his tax legacy.
Brown, during his stint in office, increased the tax burden by an equivalent ten pence on the basic rate of income tax.
Additionally, the UK is now lumbered with more than double the number of pages in its tax code, increasing from 4,555 to just under 10,000 since 1997.
The number of higher rate taxpayers now stands at 3.5M, an increase of 58% since 1997 when Labour came to power.
Francesca Lagerberg, head of Grant Thornton's national tax office, said:
"Silently the tax take continues upwards with fiscal drag raking in yet more revenue year on year.
If income tax allowances had risen in line with earnings, then the average taxpayer would achieve tax freedom a lot earlier in the year.
Despite headline announcements in this year's Budget of dropping the basic rate of income tax, aligning national insurance contributions and reducing mainstream corporation tax, the reality is that other increases will lead to a maintenance of the status quo."
Aside from Brown's economic legacy calling into question his qualifications to be an effective, dynamic and forward thinking Prime Minister, there is also one other very obvious hole in his CV.
He has never held any office of state, other than that of Chancellor, he has been in exactly the same job for 10 years.
Where was his ambition?
Where is his experience of the other major offices, eg Foreign Secretary?
He may well not be up to the job of Prime Minister, nor will he let go of the Treasury so easily (as his successor will soon discover).