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i tweeted recently that i agreed with charlotte church that i would happily pay 70% tax if it meant that we could live in a more equitable society with better health care, education and social services. predictably i got a number of ill-tempered replies from people who didn't read my tweet carefully, or pretended not to have read my tweet carefully, accusing me of hypocrisy or suggesting that i send a cheque to HMRC forthwith (predictably the replies to charlotte church were nastier - largely, i suspect, because she's a woman who dares to have an opinion in public).
so, in order that i don't have to keep repeating myself, here are my answers to those people.
i was saying, in effect, that i wanted a different tax system in which the rich paid more (as i've said before, during this period of austerity i have been asked to contribute virtually nothing while the poor and the sick and the disabled have been squeezed from all sides). sending a cheque to HMRC would not change the tax system. for the record i pay all my tax, don't practice tax avoidance, don't claim most of the expenses i could claim and give a decent chunk of extra money to oxfam. and 70% is an illustrative figure, not the exact amount of tax i want to pay, nor the top rate of tax i think is necessary for a government to maintain decent health, education and social services. indeed, if tax evaders were properly investigated and prosecuted and if the tax system were radically simplified so that the wealthy were deprived of the manifold ways in which they radically reduce the tax they pay then i susoect we might not even need a top rate of 45%.
One final point; to those who say that if tax rates are set too high then the rich won't pay... i do not want to live in a society where rules and regulations are dictated by what the rich are, or are not, willing to do, especially when it is the poor and disadvantaged who suffer as a result of their unwillingness to contribute.