In her column discussing the budget (9 March), Zoe Williams asserted that “the top 1% of British earners pay 27% of the United Kingdom’s tax”. No – this is wrong. The top 1% of earners pay 27% of income tax, but income tax raises just 27% of the UK’s total tax revenue. This is less than is raised by VAT and other indirect taxes (29%) and not much more than is raised by national insurance (19%).
By contrast with income tax, national insurance and indirect taxes are regressive, not progressive. We have no coherent data about the proportion of total taxes paid by the top 1% of individuals, but the top 10% of households pay 27% of all taxes. The three deciles below them, the real middle class by income, pay 40% of all taxes. Equating tax with income tax alone is dangerous as well as wrong because it serves to justify the self-interested domination by the real elite by wealth and income of British fiscal policy and politics in general.