All through the pandemic, there was never any doubt that one day a tax reckoning would be required, to help get borrowing back under control. And while the post lockdown mood may have changed from relief to apprehension given the spiralling cost of living, the fact remains that the chancellor has a unique opportunity to shake up tax.
A few weeks ago I asked readers for their views on tax. I received plenty of responses, many of which expressed frustration that debates around taxation, and funding of the NHS, too often descend rapidly into tribal shouting matches. But clear messages emerged. Here is a small selection.
Pensioners should be asked to contribute more. The welfare state was designed for a different era when life expectancies were shorter, commented Mike B, who believes that the higher funding costs should fall on the elderly, or their estates, “not young workers who are hit by a lack of pensions, inflated house prices and university fees”. Most of you agreed that pensioners should pay National Insurance (NI), and also that NI and income tax should be merged.