Where are Britain's highest tax bills?


Elton John

A small corner of leafy Surrey has taken the top spot in the league table of the highest income tax bills per person. Residents of Elmbridge pay an astonishing £1.18 billion in income tax every year. That puts a number of the major cities in the shade.

So who else is paying a fortune in income tax?

Biggest bills

Research by accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young found that there are only 130,000 people generating this income in Elmbridge, which works out as £16,100 each, making this the area with the highest income tax bill per person.

Visiting Elmbridge reveals that the size of the area's income tax bill shouldn't come as a huge shock. The leafy towns of Esher, Weybridge and Walton-on-Thames are filled with mansions, private estates, country clubs, golf courses, and riversides packed with millionaires. The proximity of Chelsea's training ground in Cobham has also brought well-paid sportsmen to the area.

It has become a haven for celebrities - from Elton John to Jensen Button, and is known locally as Britain's Beverly Hills. It's also the ideal spot for the banker to bring his family - just a chauffeur-driven 50 minute commute from the City.

Plus, of course, unlike the cities where rich and poor live in each other's pockets, the home counties bring the rich together out of reach of the less affluent.

The rest of the top ten is made up of:

St Albans £10,900
Windsor and Maidenhead £10,200
Guildford £9,830
London £8,580
Wokingham £7,490
Dacorum £7,490
Reigate and Banstead £7,000
Tonbridge and Malling £7,000
Wycombe £6,820
National average income tax £4,398.

Clearly London and the Home Counties dominate. Mark Giddens, Head of Private Client Services, says: "There is a growing regional mismatch within England and Wales, with wealth and tax bills becoming concentrated within a handful of cities home to lucrative industries, or a collection of leafy suburbs."

He adds: "Governments have attempted to boost the attractiveness of other regions in the UK to top earners, even encouraging some public sector organisations to relocate to different parts of the UK. However, the pull of the South East, culturally, politically, and financially is still very strong for the highest earners."

Away from the South, one city bucking the trend is Aberdeen, which has seen the fastest growth in income tax bills over the last five years. Average taxpayers in Aberdeen saw the amount of income tax they pay jump by 17.6% to £5,950 last year from £5,060 five years ago. This is nearly twice as fast as the growth of London's average tax bills and 12 times faster than the growth of the national average income tax bill.

Giddens says: "Aberdeen has been transformed since the 1990s with the growth of the oil industry. It's now a major global energy hub and one of the pillars upon which the Scottish economy is built. There is a lot of wealth in the city, with plenty of millionaires that have built oil services companies from the ground up."

Total tax bills

In terms of total income tax, the major cities dominate the list, with the plush home-counties towns pushing their way into the top ten.

London £33.7 billion
Greater Manchester £4.41 billion
Merseyside £2.19 billion
Leeds £1.49 billion
Edinburgh 1.45 billion
Birmingham £1.43 billion
Elmbridge £1.18 billion
Glasgow £898 million
St Albans £846 million
Bristol £843 million

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