Jeremy Corbyn’s claim that many people want to pay “more tax” to clear the national debt or fund public services has been undermined by official figures.
Figures disclosed by the Government show that just 15 taxpayers made financial gifts worth less than £200,000 to the Government over the past two years.
The Labour leader said in 2015 that “many well-off people I speak to, in Islington and around the country, would be quite happy to pay more tax to fund better public services or to pay down our debts”.
He added that “opinion polls bear this out – better off people are no less likely to support higher taxes”.
Typically cash which is gifted or bequeathed to the Government is channelled through the Government’s Debt Management Office.
The Debt Management Office said that £180,393 in 2016/17 and £14,558 in 2015/16 was made in these voluntary payments.
Most of this came from a single bequest of £177,700 in the last financial year. The other donated or bequeathed by the other 14 people were for relatively trivial sums. Someone gave 1p, another gave 3p and a third person handed over £1.84 to the Government.
11 years back I did a piece for The Times which pointed out that only 5 people had in fact volunteered to pay more tax. Thus, given what people do rather than what they say, there was only a marginal movement for more tax to be paid.
This was, I am really pretty sure, the first mention of this point.
LAST YEAR there were five people in Britain who thought that their taxes were too low. No, this isn’t the number of people who have called for higher taxes. Rather, it is those who were so convinced of the righteousness of state spending that they voluntarily sent extra money to the Treasury.
When I wrote that there were no official figures. Took the Treasury a month or so to round up the numbers, they just weren’t collated as a matter of course. What fun that they do now both collate and release them?