Tax simplification? Pull the other one Osborne
Analysis by the TaxPayers' Alliance shows the coalition has raised taxes more than twice as often as it has cut them. Since it came to power there have been 299 separate rises and 119 cuts – leaving Britons suffering an extra 180 tax rises in total.
It's no surprise considering the state of the UK economy that the government needs to pull more money into the coffers. In 2009/10 £513 billion was paid in taxes, or £549 billion at 2012/13 prices, and by 2015/16 the government wants to increase that amount to £671 billion.
VAT has seen the most tax rises, 55 in total since 2010 compared to five cuts, according to the TaxPayers' Alliance. Although you may only remember one VAT hike to 20% form 17.5%, the research looks at all the different areas of VAT and whether they have be subject to a rise or cut, such as fuel duty and holiday caravans.
Second place for the number of tax rises goes to vehicle excise duty, which has gone up 36 times, compared to three cuts. And in third place, income tax has received 35 rises but been cut 24 times.
We all know that the government is going to take more money from us in the form of tax, it's inevitable, but what this does prove is that the coalition's tax simplification plan isn't working.
The tax system is still a mess and with mess comes expense. Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance puts it well:
'Endless tinkering at the edges of the tax system was a vice that [chancellor] George Osborne criticised in the last government, but of which he is equally guilty now he is in office.
'Many of the coalition's hundreds of changes create just as many new complications as they resolve and every one will have affected long-term investments, often in quite subtle ways.'
I'll admit that I don't always agree with the TaxPayers' Alliance but it's hit the nail on the head here. Every time the government makes a tax change, it means Brits have to assess their current money situation and savings. This undermines the benefits of saving and budgeting – two traits that our government wants to instil in us – and harming our current as well as future prospects.