Chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne has announced that as of Monday 3rd November, 24 million people will receive a personalised breakdown of how their tax contribution has been spent by the government.
The annual tax statements, announced by the Chancellor in March 2012, will provide a visual illustration of how people’s taxes are being spent. In examples released by the Treasury, someone earning £30,000 a year will be told that £1,663 of their taxes goes towards welfare, £1,280 to health, £892 on education, and £822 to state pensions. £78 to overseas aid and £51 to the EU budget.
Around 8 million taxpayers who complete self-assessment returns will be able to access their tax summary online, while the 16 million PAYE taxpayers who received a tax coding notice from HMRC for 2013 to 2014 will receive their summary in the post over the next seven weeks.
“I promised that taxpayers would know much more about how much direct tax they pay and how that money is spent…It is a revolution in transparency and it will show how hardworking taxpayers have to pay for what governments spend” (Osborne speaking in London, October 15th).
However, the tax summary is more vague than the 2012 prototype, particularly for welfare spending, which has led the TUC (Trade Unions Council) to dismiss the initiative as ‘propaganda’; in line with the chancellor’s ploy to win political support for further reductions in the benefits budget. Nonetheless, the added transparency allows the UK government to catchup with developed economies such as Australia and figurehead Europe as a leader in accountability.
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