Londoners subsidising the rest of the UK with tax payments

Is this fair?

Aerial view of London and the River Thames

London and the south east are subsidising the rest of the UK to the tune of millions, with Londoners paying £3,070 more in tax per head than the government spends on them.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that people in the capital pay an average of £15,756 per person in tax.


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Meanwhile, the government spends £12,686 per head on Londoners - more than the national average of £11,579, but still substantially less than they bring in. This means that, all in all, Londoners are supporting the rest of the country to the tune of £26.5 billion - £4.8 billion more than in 2014-15.

The south east and the east of England also pay more than they receive - but the rest of the UK gets more public spending than it generates through tax. In Northern Ireland, people get £5,437 more per person than they pay on average in tax, and in Wales they come out ahead by £4,545.

And the figures might make the Scots stop and think before pushing for independence, as people there are getting an average of £2,824 more spent on them than they pay.

The spending figure covers public sector pay, services, capital investment in infrastructure such as transport and buildings, benefits and subsidies.

The figures show just how dependent the country is on the capital, with much of the country showing a worse deficit than Greece.

London, meanwhile, is subsidising the rest of the country even more than it was before the financial crisis - for the time being, at least. And the data is likely to strengthen calls for a 'soft' Brexit that would protect the capital's financial services industry and allow it to continue with its overpayments in the years to come.

Net benefit per person

London -£3,070

South East -£1,667

East of England -£242

North East £3,827

North West £3,043

West Midlands £2,597

Yorkshire and the Humber £2,595

East Midlands £1,695

South West £1,296

England £599

Wales £4,545

Scotland £2,824

Northern Ireland £5,437

United Kingdom £1,108

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