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Plenty of frowns with Gordon Brown on the tax front

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01/06/2007

The main legacy of Gordon Brown’s 10 years as Chancellor has been increased taxes, according to a report compiled by accountants Grant Thornton.

The tax burden on ordinary people has risen by the equivalent of 10p on the basic rate of income tax. The conclusions were published on the eve of Tax Freedom Day, the day of the year when people start working for themselves and not the taxman.

In the ’60s, Tax Freedom Day fell on April 24th, although by the time Brown assumed office in 1997 it was May 27th. Now it has slipped back to June 1st, reflecting the increased tax burden on the majority of UK workers.

A spokesperson for Grant Thornton said: “The Chancellor’s favourite trick of ‘fiscal drag’ is largely to blame – the trick of raising the tax threshold more slowly than earnings are rising. As a result, people end up paying a higher proportion of their income in tax.”

Francesca Lagerberg, an analyst at Grant Thornton, added: “Despite the recent headline announcement to cut income tax by 2p, other changes to the tax system means that he is simply maintaining the status quo.”

But a Treasury spokesperson pointed to the “huge benefits” that Labour has delivered to many workers. “Thanks to the strong economy and record employment, incomes have grown strongly across the population since 1997.”

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