Nor has the scheme made work pay. Nearly 1.7 million Britons — double the number in 1997 — now have a marginal tax rate of 70 per cent: for every extra pound they make, Mr Brown takes 70 pence. As they make more money, they lose more benefits, so it is barely worth their while to work — exactly the opposite of what the Prime Minister was trying to achieve.
The solution seems simple. Scrap many of these benefits and increase personal income tax allowance. This would take millions out of income tax altogether, easing the burden on those hard-pressed tax and benefits men. There will, of course, be winners and losers, and the genuinely poor will have to be protected, but it would save us all a vast amount of money in administration costs and help prevent further such disasters — whether one-off or systemic.
The idea that the poor should even be in the income tax system is absurd. Which is why sensible people, like the Adam Smith Institute, suggest that the allowances be raised to £14,000. There\’s even a sensible political party, UKIP, which has made a similar thought (similar, although not exactly the same amount) part of their proposals.
Yes, yes, I know, there are those who would deny that those two groups are "sensible", but this specific proposal clearly is.