It's clear that taxation is something on everyone's mind at the moment, so I thought it might be helpful to provide some context on how tax is collected and how it's spent by the Government.
As I travel around the constituency, I often hear people say to me that they would be happy to pay more tax for healthcare without realising that health and welfare account for almost half of all public spending. This is understandable because we live in an ageing society where good healthcare and fair pensions are very important. But it does mean that everything else the government has to pay for including; education, defence and transport has to come out of the other half.
Having already taken 4 million of the lowest paid workers out of income tax altogether by almost doubling the personal tax allowance in just seven years, I am proud that the Prime Minister has recently reaffirmed the government's commitment to lower taxes. Moreover, that the HMRC ranks highly in the international league table of national revenue collectors.
Similarly, local taxation here in Solihull has been frozen for the past five years to help people finances. Whilst I acknowledge that council tax has risen this year to reflect inflation, and to generate additional income to pay for elderly social care, the best way to keep taxes down is to grow our economy and ensure that all public money is spent wisely and efficiently.
As we look to the future, we must face up to the fact that our country is still in debt and there is still work to be done to balance the books following the 2008 financial crash. Further borrowing is not only unsustainable but we owe it to the next generation to clear up the debts we have generated to date.
Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP
Published in the Solihull News