Few realise coalition is adding to UK debt

Ben Southwood
Follow Ben
THE PUBLIC mistakenly thinks that the coalition government is planning to bring the debt down, but even then wants tax and spending cuts, a poll said this morning.

Just 14 per cent of people knew the government was planning to increase the national debt – it will go up by around £600bn – a TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) poll found, versus 46 per cent per cent who thought it would fall under the coalition.

By contrast, half of those asked, and 64 per cent of those who expressed an opinion, thought the government spent and taxed too much, ahead of chancellor George Osborne’s fourth budget.

The poll also found that people underestimated the toll tax takes on their take-home pay. The respondents thought someone on £25,000 would only pay £30 out of an £100 raise in tax, rather than the £70 that is closer to reality, according to the TPA’s poll.

TPA chief executive Matthew Sinclair said the poll highlighted how complex the tax system had become and called for a more streamlined system. “Politicians have spent decades tinkering with our tax system and making it ever more complicated and opaque,” he said.

“Far too many people now do not understand how much they are paying and why there is so much pressure on their living standards – but they do understand that the tax burden has got well out of hand.”

“Politicians need to set out reforms to create a much more open and honest tax system that leaves more money in people’s pockets,” Sinclair added.

One good step, the TPA said, would be a full merger of income tax and national insurance.