Letter to the Mirror by Professor Philip Booth

Dear Sir,

Basic arithmetic seems to escape the authors of your feature on tax who claim the ‘average’ family receives £22,289 worth of services in return for a tax bill of £5,000. A family earning £24,000 a year indeed pay £5,044 Income Tax, but in addition they would pay £2,640 National Insurance, 17.5% VAT, Council Tax and other assorted taxes on savings, fuel, alcohol, tobacco and so forth. In reality, their total tax bill will be over £10,000. Similarly, many of the costs cited are ridiculous: how many families call out two fire engines for two hours every year at a cost of £1,096? You compare the cost of state education with the cost of private education – with no mention of any differences in quality. These are just three of many flaws in the article. Is it really credible that civil servants can spend £450bn of taxpayers’ money better than the people who have earned it?