The Equality Trust – the UK does not have a progressive tax system

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I received the following in a mail from the Equality Trust this morning and as I am short of time offer it as is:

I just wanted to draw people's attention to a new report we've published today with Ipsos MORI polling, covered in the Guardian here. It looks at the at how much the richest and poorest households pay in tax, what people believe they pay, and what they would like them to pay.

Our report's main findings are:

  • The poorest 10 per cent of households pay 8 percentage points more (or about 23% more) of their income in all taxes than the richest 10 per cent - 43% compared to 35%
  • But the public is unaware of this according to new Ipsos Mori polling. Nearly 70% (68%) think the richest 10 per cent pay more. Not a single respondent knew how much the richest and poorest paid in tax. On average the public under-estimates what the poorest 10 per cent pays in tax by 19 percentage points, believing they pay just 24% of their income in taxes.
  • More importantly, the public overwhelmingly wants a more progressive tax system - 96%. On average, people believe the poorest 10 per cent should be taxed just 15% of their income, or 28 percentage points less than they currently are. They believe the richest 10 per cent should be taxed 39%, or 4 percentage points more. On average they believe the richest should be taxed nearly 24 percentage points more than than the poorest 10 per cent.
  • Although there are some fluctuations, support for a more progressive tax system is remarkably broad across political party lines, gender, age and even income groups. Labour supporters believe the poorest 10% should pay the least, just 13%, with UKIP supporters believing they should pay the highest, at 16%.

One of the reasons we wanted to look at this came from some of the more misleading comments on taxation coming from politicians and commentators - the sorts of things like 'the richest 1% pay 30% of all taxes' or promises to 'lift the low-paid out of tax' - when they're only referring to income tax.

We also regularly hear media talk of how much the poorest's income comes from 'Government handouts' - but we rarely hear how much is then paid in taxation. Obviously we didn't want to frame tax in a negative light, but we did want to show how far public perceptions of what the poorest pay in tax are off the mark.

If people are interested in this the report is here -