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EDITIONS
 Wednesday, 17 April, 2002, 14:22 GMT 15:22 UK
What do you want from the Budget?
The 17 April Budget is the first since Labour was returned to power in the general election 2001 - and it will be the most important yet for the government.

Chancellor Gordon Brown faces a long list of spending commitments - for health, education, law and order, transport defence, foreign aid and UK business - while government income is shrinking.

He believes that Labour must deliver on its pledges to improve the public services, and the only feasible way to raise the money is through taxation.

What do you want to see from the Budget? What do you want for yourself? What do you think should be the Chancellor's priorities for the country?

Have your say

Why doesn't Gordon Brown eliminate the income tax and national insurance contributions of public sector workers?

Dave, Cambridge
I worked in the NHS for a couple of years and discovered something that Gordon Brown needs a look at. There are two main groups of people: managers and doers. The managers worry about their pointless existence and create work for each other that costs the Treasury vast sums of our money. The doers are the nurses, doctors and auxiliary and administrative staff who have to battle against this management nightmare. I can see NHS managers rubbing their hands at the prospect of more money to burn. The NHS is a good thing, but it really needs serious rationalisation. Why doesn't Gordon Brown eliminate the income tax and national insurance contributions of public sector workers? It would make working for the public sector more appealing, especially if they sort the management problem!
Dave, Cambridge, UK

As a Tory I wonder why you haven't put any controversial views on your message board? Once again your left wing ideology gets in the way of what people really think! It is time the two Labour backers who run the BBC, quit their jobs and restored some equality into your broadcasting! Are the Labour connections the reason why you have changed the colouring of the BBC website to red?
James Taylor, England

This government seem to be failing everywhere! They raise taxes to pay for the NHS but spend Billions to support the "War on Terror". I hope we can get rid of them as soon as possible! I hope that whoever voted them in, won't vote for them next time!
Russell English, England

Hey now come on, Labour has got to pay for their next election campaign somehow. Why not tax us for it? After all they see us a lovely cash cow ripe for the milking...
Doug, London, UK

I'd like to see more realistic pension increases for O A P's
J Mclemmow, England

I feel that if income taxes are raised people will soon stop working because the amount of money that we shell out for taxes is disgusting and if we were on benefits we would be better off. Why should we be paying for other people's mistakes?
Jo Kenr, Lanarkshire

I don't want to pay any more taxes. I can't believe the NHS needs more money.

Thomas Wright, UK
What do I want? Well I don't want to pay any more taxes. I want to see the huge sums I already pay on virtually everything I earn or buy spent more wisely. I can't believe the NHS needs more money. What they need to do is stop building new hospitals and get on with treating patients. I don't think I'm alone in my opinions.
Thomas Wright, UK

I would like to see more money and effort put into actually improving the health of the people rather than spending it on patching up the damage caused by poor lifestyles and just by being poor. The trouble is that the improved health of the nation is not as quantifiable as the length of a waiting list or the millions spent on a PFI hospital.
Dave Allen, UK

I noticed an article about the universities wanting more money from the budget. This should be taken with a pinch of salt, as many of the 'Red Brick' universities are very much in the black financially. Extra higher education funding should be on a case-by-case basis.
Dave, CH

I wish he'd raise the level at which stamp duty kicks in on buying a house. This has nearly killed me as a first time buyer. £60,000 doesn't get you anything in property these days. It was once a high threshold. now it's just an easy source of income for the government at the expense of people who are actually trying to make their way in life... not sponging off the state.
Lisa Morrellison, Nottingham

I don't smoke, I drink but even if he doesn't raise the tax on drink, that won't stop the breweries from raising the prices. I commute to & from work on the train and have private health insurance. The only thing that would benefit me would be a cut in income tax.DOH!
Mark Renshaw, UK

Only taxes will equitably fund healthcare for all. Only the public sector can provide the service as efficiently as it is currently.

Richard, UK
So many people seem to confuse the word 'efficient' with the word 'effective'. Efficiency is a ratio of outputs achieved to inputs given. The NHS is an efficient method of healthcare delivery. This has been proven in that costs per unit of activity in the UK are lower than in comparable industrialised nations. A major reason for this efficiency is the commitment of the staff to the not-for-profit principle. Unfortunately, the level of resources input to the service have been so low that it is unable to be as effective as the health services in many other nations despite this efficiency. Involve the private sector too much and the staff's commitment will begin to wane - morale is already pretty low. The end user also eventually pays for private funding through taxes or through private or social insurance. Only taxes will equitably fund healthcare for all. Only the public sector can provide the service as efficiently as it is currently.
Richard, UK

As a member of the so-called 'middle-class' I am sick and tired of having to bear the burden of increased taxes. Why should I pay more tax when I already pay for my own private medical care (including the tax on it!) thereby relieving the burden on the NHS. Although I earn more than many that means I also pay more tax, directly and indirectly when I spend my hard earned income. If I pay even more income tax (or NI) I have less to spend and this government will waste it. I sometimes wonder why I bother working so hard - should I give it up and live off the state? No. What we need is much improved efficiency in public services, a simpler, fairer and more transparent tax system and more importantly, a government and society that promote responsibility for self, family and community. Not a continual reliance on others.
Robin, UK

The government should not shy away from measures that may be unpopular in the short term but that will deliver longer-term benefits. Citizens on a comfortable income must be prepared to pay for an improved society and improved, world-class public services. And yes, I include myself in that group.
Stephen Barker, UK

We must support the government's efforts even if it leads to higher taxes


Mitch, UK
The NHS and education require more money. The demands of an aging population make it inevitable. We must support the government's efforts even if it leads to higher taxes unless we are comfortable with a healthcare system in which only the wealthy can afford the best. I would like to also see a greater emphasis on the environment with the car tax system being scrapped and all taxes being applied to fuel. This would really make people think about using their cars every day. More money for public transport, teachers, nurses and the police would also be nice!
Mitch, UK

Before we start throwing more money at the NHS, first we need to reduce the amount of resource wastage.Why should the NHS be free to overseas visitors? Why can't they pay for treatment through travel insurance like in every other country?
Mark, UK

I would like to see better public services - to do this I believe there needs to be a revamp of tax brackets and the N.I. ceiling. We need to avoid taxing those people considered to be middle income earners. I would propose a 50p tax bracket for those earning over £100k p.a. and a rise in the N.I. ceiling to £100k. The Chancellor may also like to raise the duty on cigarettes and other non-essential items. He must avoid a fuel tax rise.
Howard Tobias, UK

Stop wasting £12 billion of taxpayers' money annually and invest that into the NHS!
Neil, England

What most people don't seem to realise is that those who live in the south east of England cannot be compared with the rest of the country. We have the highest property prices and living expense in the whole of the country. To generalise and say that higher taxpayers should be taxed even more is not sustainable. Living in the southeast is a choice that we have made but we can't be penalised for it. I bought a two bed flat a year ago and had to pay a stamp duty of 3%! Living in London, I had no choice but to buy an expensive property. I was a first time buyer and it totally stifled me. Gordon Brown has to realise that high property prices varies in different parts of the country. Those living in London are having a very hard time and no, there is no reason why we should move to the country for it. If taxes do go up, I will have to make a choice to go home to Hong Kong and never come back!!!
Nelson, London, England

It's about time that the staff were taken more seriously in our NHS

Alan Hope, UK
Its all very well increasing taxes to benefit the health service but until something is done to ensure that the staff stay in the service, most of the extra funding will be spent on agency staffing and staffing from abroad. It's about time that the staff were taken more seriously in our NHS because at the end of the day it will be those people who make a success of our health service.
Alan Hope, UK

As a recent graduate, living in London and trying to pay off all my debts, any tax increase is a major worry. That said, in this case I support a rise for the NHS - but I think it should be done transparently through Income tax not through the complex NI system.
JF, UK

I work in IT and did not come from a wealthy background. I've spent years getting educated and trained to get to where I am today, earning a respectable amount. However I think it's unfair that I have 40% of my earnings taxed away and lose more through NI, not to mention VAT, car related taxation, and taxes on my house. I don't see any benefit to me at all for this hard work and effort. I am not eligible to receive benefits, and I use private healthcare that I also have to pay for. The way the UK is going I'm surprised people aren't just quitting their jobs and living off benefits, because those of us who are earning certainly get no benefit from such high taxation.
James, UK

Bye Bye Blair - you have achieved nothing except as much sleaze as the Tories

James, Reading
Bye Bye Blair - you have achieved nothing except as much sleaze as the Tories. Why should I pay more tax, with no added value? I see nothing for my money, roads are so bad I've bought a scooter to avoid congestion, the health service is a health risk and I go private (which I am taxed on). You're on a one-way street to becoming redundant. Perhaps your master (Bush) will offer you some cushy job.
James, Reading, England

UK Government run institutions. These represent inefficient, bottomless money pits. I worked for the Government, it is shockingly mismanaged...
Doug, London, UK

I firmly believe a tax increase will be counterproductive. Surely the aim of taxation policy should be to increase total tax revenue by ensuring more people are in a position to afford to pay the tax. I run my own business and work on short-term contracts. A further increase in taxation will result in reducing the motivation of people such as myself. After this budget I'm sure I'll be asking myself whether it is worth not seeing my wife and family 6 or 7 days each week when the treasury benefit from my efforts more than my family.
Stefan Bates, UK

I feel robbed every time I look at my payslip

Andy, England
25 years old, unmarried, 40% tax payer. I'm never ill, never see the police around my area of Berkshire except behind speed guns, I have no children, I've never been unemployed, I don't use public transport. What do I get for the huge amounts of tax I pay? Very little. Make me pay for my healthcare directly and cut my taxes. I am sick and tired of paying for services I never use. I feel robbed every time I look at my payslip - its neither right nor fair.
Andy - IT Contractor, England

I am all in favour of tax rises for the NHS but only to those who can afford to pay it. There is an ever increasing gap between the rich and poor, and it always hits the poor hardest. Taxing higher earners where they generally have more disposable income available seems fairer than raising taxes for people who already more than struggling to make ends meet. Labour won't be getting my vote any more!!
James, UK

I wonder how much smokers cost the NHS? I heard on breakfast news this morning that tax on cigarettes is to be left as it is, but I'm sure I heard somewhere that over 50% of all NHS costs are smoking related. Why do non-smokers have to pay for the treatment of those who wish to slowly poison themselves? Leave VAT Alone, Leave NI alone and raise taxes on products that people insist on using even though they are widely recognised as being damaging to peoples health and the environment. Close TAX loopholes, fat-cats are worse than dollite scroungers, and stop spending money on asylum seekers who have no real claim to being here. Just ship them back its quicker and cheaper!
Karl, UK

While I am happy enough to see more money going to public services, everything costs and the money must come from somewhere. However, I do not think that simply throwing money at the problem will help at all, in fact it may make things worse. I can't help but feel that some public services do not effectively get money into service provision, more work is required to get this right before my hard earned tax money gets wasted, again.
Bernard Bracken, UK

A good Government leaves its citizens alone as much as possible.

Ian, London
If the chancellor is so good, why isn't he lowering taxes, now that he is making better use of the huge amount of money he does have! As I understand it, there are health systems in the states that get less money than our health service, providing a much higher level of service. Tony Blair made this point, that it is the culture that needs to change. A good Government leaves its citizens alone as much as possible. A bad government increases taxes.
Ian, London

I'd like to express my opposition to increases in stamp duty on housing. The rate is already 4% for higher value properties, and threatening to go to 5%, and is charged on the whole value of the new purchased property, not just the additional value compared to your previous home. This means that if you move regularly, you can end up paying a very high percentage of your property value in tax. Why should we be taxed at all, if we moved to an equivalent value property? Surely we should encourage a mobile society, not tax flexibility and change. Keep stamp duty low!
Nick M, UK

I'd like to see a significant increase in subsidies to the organic farming sector and a system for penalising the use of pesticides that leech into our water supply, poison our food, give us cancer and harm wildlife and the environment.

I'd like to see a more effective system than exists at present to encourage businesses to take a more responsible attitude towards pollution and reducing waste.
And the finances for this? For a start, the Government should stop throwing away money on pointless leisure/heritage/arts developments. Cut back export credit guarantees, especially on arms exports, dam projects & other developments overseas that are of no benefit to UK citizens.
Alex B, UK

The NHS doesn't want more money as such - it wants decent managers in from industry to cover personnel, maintenance and financial planning. Working conditions for nurses must be improved and made more flexible if they are not to keep on leaving the NHS in droves. My partner is a fully qualified Intensive Care nurse and works agency shifts as she doesn't like the terms and conditions of NHS work - she works part time, and earns around 50% more than she would if she was full time NHS. Hospitals should be able to handle their own budgets, including terms and conditions for all staff.
Dan Welch, UK

More money won't fix the NHS

Andrew, UK
More money won't fix the NHS. We are talking about an organisation that involves one employee, two electricians, two managers, two directors and six months of waiting around just have a power socket installed into a wall which will cost the department around 200 pounds just for the cost of the socket. I know, I tried it when I worked for the NHS! The NHS needs structure before it needs more money. So do I want to pay more tax? What do you think?
Andrew, UK

I'm glad to see this Labour government finally having the courage of it's convictions - what we are seeing is simply a small step towards re-balancing society after the 'pigs in the trough' years of the previous administration
Campbell Preston, Scotland

It seems that many, if not most, people would be content to pay more tax if this resulted in a clear and substantial improvement in the service offered by the NHS. However, that is a very big "if". The NHS has already enjoyed significantly increased spending since Labour was elected but without delivering commensurate improvement. Why should the next billions produce any different result from the last lot? I believe that none of the politicians has a clue about how to fix the NHS but Gordon & Tony believe that throwing more money at it will make them popular. If it doesn't deliver a better service I'd suggest it will have the opposite effect.
Mike Bell, England

Crime on the increase, old ladies killed for a fish supper, failing schools, hospital waiting lists still too long¿ Labour said in 1997 that they would sort this out in the first term of office, but as yet still nothing, even though taxes have risen in the last 5 years and now we are told that more tax increases are due. Where is all the money going? All we seem to get from Labour is spin, spin and more spin, while Tony Blair travels the world collecting "Blair miles"
Rev Gary Farr, Portsmouth UK

I earn well under the average wage but am not poor enough to receive any benefits

Nat, UK
Why is it that people like me always lose out? I earn well under the average wage but am not poor enough to receive any benefits. Yet the richer get richer and those who can't be bothered to work like teenage mothers for example, get everything handed to them on a plate. I'd like to see the rich taxed more and those who are on low earnings to be taxed less. It's simple and fair.
Nat, UK

I live and work in London - apparently I'm super-wealthy, already paying 40% income tax + NI, despite the fact I can't afford a car, holiday or even to go out. The tax bands are unrealistically low, and an NI increase means I may as well stop working as my 'disposable' income will become negative.
James B, UK

Comments so far have included, "the hospitals are dirty", " I had to wait months for my operation", "The NHS is crumbling" etc etc ad nauseam. Then faced with the question "How do we fund improvements?", the middle and higher earners start becoming more concerned about their own disposal income. You have never had it so good! Yet you still whine. Consumer spending is consistently rising, the cost of goods and services is stable, and in many cases falling. And when asked to contribute to your country's health you go in to convulsions becoming more worried whether you can afford another holiday or another DVD for the bedroom. Any rises in taxes will be modest, probably a few pounds a months. I have the solution, you are always whining about were the lottery money is spent; well scrap the National Lottery, and instead of spending 4 pounds pounds a week on the unlikely chance of winning a million, let the chancellor take that 4 pounds form us. The National Lottery has collected dozens of billions in the past 7 years, enough to modernise the NHS.
James Courtney, UK

There is no problem with the amount of tax being paid in the UK. The problem lies in the way it is used.

K. Hiorns, Sweden\UK
At the moment I am in Sweden where the streets are clean and there is little graffiti. The schools are well run such that the locals and other foreign nationals here who use them are very happy. The roads are generally well maintained and there is plenty of subsidy for the many local tourist attractions and facilities for the local community. Even the riding stables in this city receive government money. The taxes are reputed to be high but the national insurance is low (for the individual and the company. This means that over all the amount paid here in tax is similar to the amount paid in the UK. There is a VAT rate of 25% but that is only on a small number of items and for restaurant meals. The lower rate of VAT is 12% and this is not paid on food. It seams that there is no problem with the amount of tax being paid in the UK. The problem lies in the way it is used.
K. Hiorns, Sweden\UK

Two things in life that are inevitable: 1) Taxes will always rise, 2) Politicians will never honour their pledges
GJ, UK

A tax to fund a nationwide litter clearing campaign. The streets are a disgrace, at least we could start to be proud of our surroundings again! Also watch out, they will not change much today, it will all be phased in to make it less noticeable....Sly buggers!
DF, UK

Why should I pay a higher rate of tax than someone else? There should be one universal rate for all. Where is the justice in studying and working hard to get on and be rewarded with "well done on your promotion, now we will take an even bigger percentage of your money? As for the NHS, it is completely pointless throwing more money at something that does not work. Reform it, make it work and then see if we need to invest more in it.
Mike, France (ex UK)

I believe public services are a bottomless pit. You can pour money in with no gain. Having been a patient in the NHS and having experience of other public services, the main issue is improving organisation and inefficiency. There is no need to wait 3 hours in A&E to have a bandage put on a wound!
Ian Pratt, England

The Chancellor needs to think about the major problem in the health service - lack of beds

Antonia Davies, England
The Chancellor needs to think about the major problem in the health service - lack of beds. It really doesn't matter how many nurses and doctors we have if there are no beds available to treat people. One of the main causes for lack of beds is bed-blocking by the elderly infirm and the disabled. We need more and better care in the community, more support for carers and more residential/nursing homes.
Antonia Davies, England

An increase in NI combined with the insane IR35 legislation would be a major problem for me and thousands of other people trying to run small businesses in the IT/Engineering sector. I thought this government were supposed to be encouraging enterprise?
George, UK

I have long thought that the cap on NI is an unfair advantage to those on an above-average wage. If the limit is abolished, I for one will be happy to pay more NI to fund our health service.
Ian Chard, Scotland

What would I like to see from the budget? I'd like to see everyone, no matter what their standing, pay the same amount into the public services because everyone is entitled to the same services so this is the only fair way. I suppose there's little chance of this ever becoming a reality and the hard working middle class will have to make even higher contributions in proportion to their income than everyone else as usual. I'm beginning to wonder whether it was worthwhile going to university in order to 'get on' in life and enjoy a higher income I may as well have been a lay about - sponging what I can off the state without the stress and long hours I am burdened with now. I couldn't be any more disillusioned.
Steve West, UK

I have worked in the NHS for the last 5 years and have definitely seen an increase in the level of funding and improvements in services

Levi Buckley, Newcastle, UK
I have worked in the NHS for the last 5 years and have definitely seen an increase in the level of funding and improvements in services. Politicians only highlight the failings to score points and ignore the progress being made. More money is needed to fund more new health care facilities and, more importantly, train more staff. I do think tax rises should be targeted more equitably. As a single 30 year old with no kids I probably don't fully appreciate the benefits of family tax credit, I just notice the chancellor thinking I am an easy target for the tax rises! As others have said it would be more useful to close the loopholes that allow very high earners to avoid paying tax.
Levi Buckley, Newcastle, UK

The tax raised has gone from 268Bn to 400 n in 4 years. If a 50% raise in tax revenue is not enough to see major changes in all of the services, then raising it will do no good either. Bad management is the real reason for all of these failures. What about the 200 million the NHS spent on a computer system which never came on line? No value for money Gordon! Change that and you will see results.
Mark, UK

It is about time that national Insurance was included in income tax. At present NI is take after tax has been calculate and is therefore a double tax. Lets come clean about NI, it is a TAX and therefore the case for including it in the Income Tax rates is unbeatable. It would also mean that the higher paid (including myself)would pay more. I suggest no increase in NI without reform of the tax rates.
M. Brown, UK

I want to see NI increase for high earners (over ?35,000) and the money spent on the health service, as I am convinced that the NHS is only in trouble because it has been starved of investment; I think we have all benefited from the stable economy since 1997 and many higher earners can afford to put something back.
Billy, UK

It would be nice to include Higher Education in any discussions about education!
Roger Grosvenor, Wales

The entire taxation system, direct and indirect, needs an overhaul

Jeff Evans, UK
The entire taxation system, direct and indirect, needs an overhaul. The Government should simplify the taxation system so that it is transparent. Then people will be able to see it is a case of you get what you pay. It is good to see the Liberal Democrats have started a campaign on simplifying the tax system. Surely the Government needs to reduce the cost of collecting tax so that the money goes on where it is needed.
Jeff Evans, UK

I'm sick of those who work hard and as a consequence have high incomes being clobbered for tax and NI rises. I earn 200k plus a year but work 16 hours a day 7 days a week on my own business which I set up from scratch and which now employs 20 people - why shouldn't I be allowed to enjoy the benefits of my hard work? The reality is I now chose to pay for private heath care, live on a private road, would send kids (if I had any) to private schools etc so I'm not using the public services I'm expected to pay disproportionately for. Abolishing the NI cap, increasing stamp duty and so forth simply penalises those like me who work hard and get the benefit. And no, I'm not from middle England or a wealthily family, I'm a Labour voter (still) who did it myself.
MK, UK

How about something that enables me (as an IT professional) to afford a roof over my head? It's not only public sector workers who are in serious trouble now!
Alastair Stevens, Cambridge UK

There is no pleasing this country, we want platinum public services but the minute we talk about paying for them everyone seems to go a little wobbly

DSR, UK
There is no pleasing this country, we want platinum public services but the minute we talk about paying for them everyone seems to go a little wobbly. We can't have it both ways. I personally want 'Platinum' public services and I realise that you need a sustained cash flow to achieve this. Let's have the courage to turn this corner and maybe we can start being proud of the institutions we so cherish
Dean Howard, West Yorkshrire

Simplification of ISA's, plus 7k max on each of the ISA components.
DSR, UK

I am a middle-income earner. Married with no children. I have been working for the past three years. The thing is, I see nothing, absolutely nothing, worth the tax I pay. The hospitals in Birmingham are filthy and crowded with a minimum 8 hrs wait if you are desperate enough to go to an accidents and emergency department. The GPs in my area are imported or trainees and are largely incompetent. One of them wrote a referral letter about a problem I had in my kidney. Fine, but he referred me to the hospital with a problem with my ovaries!. Me and my wife are trying to have a baby. We fund the fertility treatment ourselves. The local health authority don't even know if they can fund us or not!. OK, I am off to work now using the filthy and unreliable no. 11 bus where even school children smoke cannabis! Mr. Brown, and Mr. Bush's tail wager (Blair) have definitely lost my vote. Don't worry. The Tories didn't win it either.
Ash, UK

I have always been a believer in allowing the people the choice of having more in their pockets and then deciding what to spend the money on afterwards

Julian, England
I have always been a believer in allowing the people the choice of having more in their pockets and then deciding what to spend the money on afterwards. It seems to me that this is the only way people will have the chance to save money. So, lower direct taxes and increase indirect ones, for example VAT. Apart from that as a general rule I would increase the higher tax threshold to ?35K and then increase the higher tax rate to 45%. Thus fewer people would be on the higher rate and yet those who were could afford the difference. Last point, as a teacher I distinctly remember the phrase: "education, education, education" - where is that money? If direct taxes were to be increased - let's face it Labour like doing that - then I would want them ring-fenced and totally clear! If Brown is going to bring in an extra ?5billion, then I want to see 5 billion of increases. It must be clear!
Julian, England

Isn't it about time they stopped calling NI "Insurance" and just got honest about it and called it Income Tax. I run a small company and the monthly total NI payment (including the iniquitous employer's NI or payroll tax - and they want to cut unemployment?) is half as much again as the Income Tax payment.
John Collins, UK

Why will no politician have the guts to impose a higher tier of tax for people who earn more than ?100,000 pa? Why not 55%?
Ian Harris, England

What I want more than anything is value for my tax money. We constantly hear that the government is swimming in tax receipts, yet schools are still in a mess, the NHS is wasting money hand-over-fist, the state of most roads here is worse than in eastern Europe, and crime is still soaring despite big increases in the bill for policing in everyone's council taxes. It's just not acceptable for the government to waste our money like this, or to demand even more in such a cavalier way. What started as a New Labour dream of better things to come is rapidly becoming a sorry tale of mismanagement and broken promises. If, after all these years, New Labour can't reform (or even visibly improve) health, education and transport then it's time for serious changes. Throwing more money down the drain is not the answer.
Paul R, UK

Any increase in NI contribution will lead directly to a reduction in money spent on personal pensions, which will simply lead to more major problems in future years.
Alan Kerr, UK

As someone who is middle England, I am paying enough tax. we have seen no improvement in the NHS

RM, UK
As someone who is middle England, I am paying enough tax. we have seen no improvement in the NHS. What needs to be done is restructure the management, give power back to the hospitals, then they will run like the private sector. No need for MR Brown to increase our NI!
RM, UK

What most people posting here probably don't know is that the very rich pay very little tax. They have choices, the government knows this and avoids penalising them, otherwise the money would just go elsewhere. So when you talk about taxing the rich - please be aware that you are really talking about taxing the middle.
Martin Smith, UK (currently HK)

Here we go then, the real face of "New" Labour. As taxes are going to rise, when can we expect some proper improvement, rather than shallow and hollow sounding promises? Do this government really think the electorate in this country are completely blind and stupid? There has never been so much sleaze swept under the carpet. The road system, public transport, and the NHS are the reasons given to justify more tax increases. What utter tripe, the Chancellor is sitting on the biggest reserve of any government in this country, and seems to think that he can tax us out of what we earn. It is about time this "transparent" government came clean where the money is going. To resuscitate the NHS, try getting rid of the extraneous layers of middle management placed there by politicians who have no clue how the service works, and no inclination to stay long enough to find out. With these tax increases, we will become the most heavily taxed country in Europe. Yet, in Europe, they have sys! te! ms in place that gives them decent levels of service, cleanliness and roads that whilst crowded, aren't being dug up all the time or are falling to peices due to underinvestment. New Labour...utter rubbish....same Labour....same story....tax and spend.
Gary, England (unfortunately)

The ridiculously absurd tax IR35 has to go.
SAS, USA

Germans, Swedes, Danes etc. all have a culture of social commitment

John Kelly-Chandler, Britain
It's not surprising that people vote not to pay more tax for the NHS when the Government wasted 28 million and more on that useless Dome in Greenwich. However that point which I have some sympathy with does not alter a basic fact Brits want really good services but they are not prepared to pay for them. Germans, Swedes, Danes etc. all have a culture of social commitment that means they will support the concept of "If you want the best then you must be prepared to pay for it". Brits have lost this concept ( if they ever had it in the first place) and are still being controlled by the "greed is good" factor espoused by Thatcher. I will pay tax for the Health Service but I do expect this Government to be more prudent with the money. No more Domes!
John Kelly-Chandler, Britain

More tax for less services, that seems to be the order of the day. Stop wasting money on financial immigrants and start taking responsibility for your actions.
Barry H, UK

I can't believe Blair and Brown have the front to ask the British taxpayer for more money when we have seen increased taxation through the backdoor, yet public services have got worse! I would like answers to the following questions before the Chancellor raises taxes: 1) How many hospitals, or doctors, or nurses, or police officers would the money wasted on projects like the Dome have paid for? 2) Where has the extra taxes we have forked out in the last 5 years been spent? Surely not improving services, they've got worse! 3) How much does the NHS spend treating diseases caused by smoking?? Why should I and other non-smokers pay more tax to subsidise the treatment of these people?? There is a warning on every tobacco product sold in this country. Think of the savings to the NHS and the country if no one smoked-so tax tobacco! I bet countries like the US, Canada and Australia are rubbing their hands with glee-another Brain Drain? You bet!
Kev Rothery, UK

Increased funding for the NHS is not the solution. As with most government monopolies the NHS lacks the competitive incentive to be efficient and deliver more productivity for less cost. The answer is to privatise all health care in the UK. The different companies would compete for business which is good for the consumer. The government would provide a 'safety net' for low income earners, allowing them to claim for basic health care needs. Higher income earners would also benefit because they would receive superior health care and only pay for what they used.
Geoff, UK

Speaking as an American, our health care system is certainly not without its problems, some major, and both the government and the private sector carry blame. However, I would never entertain the thought of accepting a health care system so dismally operated as the UK's. You all would best be advised to either seriously reform (think private sector here!) your system, or perhaps scrap it entirely and replace it with something else. To pump more money - money stolen for all practical purposes from hard working people- into a failing system is insane! My advice is actually quite simple: cut taxes. Of course, when cutting taxes other things must be slashed as well - the seemingly endless lists of government programs and meddlings that the UK has accumulated like grime on gears. One would not further clog the gear and expect it to move better, would he?
Jonathan, Mississippi, USA

Reducing or 'reforming' the welfare state is a false economy

Dan E-J, Australia
Having just emigrated from the UK, it's nice to be an onlooker. I'm a liberal at heart, and totally agree with fair levels of taxation. Reducing or 'reforming' the welfare state is a false economy. We have to provide for people who are worse off. If there was no substantial welfare, the poorest in society would become criminals just to survive. That would cost massive amounts in policing, increase in insurance premiums, stress and other lifestyle costs. Life's not all about money! Also I see no reason to have a centrally funded Health Service. What is wrong with making people who can afford it pay for some of it? France and Australia have a great health service, where you pay 30% of treatment costs (normally provided through insurance, which is no more than UK's NI) You get treated when you want and where you want. In Oz you can actually go to the doctor of your choice, whether or not you are in the catchment area. I fully support the notion of a free health service, but it will cost too much to resurrect it from Thatcher's mismanagement. The NHS is never going to be a properly functional system in its current state. Time for change.
Dan E-J, Australia

1) What about some true wealth redistribution? 2) Close all the tax loopholes for the rich. 3) Ministers being forced to pay for their own ministerial cars and paying their own petrol bills - the rest of us have to! 4) MPs paying a 90% supertax on other earnings they have out of parliament - an MP should be in parliament representing their constituents not lining their own pockets. 5) Abolishing MPs housing allowances so they can see for themselves how overpriced housing in London is. 6) Tony Blair paying rent to live at 10 Downing Street
Scott Allen, Sheffield, England

People in the UK can't have it both ways! You have massive socialization and subsidization of many social programs and obviously, that money to pay for those things have to come from somewhere. If you feel you are being overtaxed, then vote those legislators out! Strong anti-tax populist sentiment about taxes makes incumbent politicians very nervous!!
CK, USA

I'd like to pay more income tax

Simon Watkins, Wales, UK
Judging by the comments here - I'm in a minority. I'd like to pay more income tax, and I'll try to explain why. I'm relatively poorly paid - only ?25k per annum. Any increase in income tax would mean that higher wage earners would lose some of their slice of the cake (which is the national income) and those less well off would gain a larger slice. It's as simple as that. For middle or lower incomes - income tax is your friend - other taxes that are not progressive (e.g. VAT, TV licence, fuel tax) are not your friend. The problem is that people seem unable to look at the bigger picture and are merely concerned with x% income tax rather than their percentage gain or loss of the national income. You can't expect us all to understand complex fiscal policy - but quite frankly I'm beginning to wonder what the people on this forum use brains for.
Simon Watkins, Wales, UK

I would like to see a 50% band of tax introduced for those on ?50,000 and above, and a heavy tax on those "executives" collecting "golden" handshakes. Also, the 17.5% VAT rate came in to pay to subsidise the infamous "Poll Tax" rises. It's about time this levy came off since Council tax has risen to obscene levels by stealth, already this year.
Phil W, UK

Introduce a nice, whopping great 85% tax on litigation awards for anything other than a completely incapacitating accident

David, Milton Keynes, UK
Introduce a nice, whopping great 85% tax on litigation awards for anything other than a completely incapacitating accident. Let's claw back some of the money already haemorrhaging from the NHS and save wasting Court time on the no-win, no-fee claim industry that now blights us.
David, Milton Keynes, UK

I think it's about time that rail fares should come down to 50% or more as they keep going up and up all the time. It's not always fair for all the passengers. Also, cigarettes should go up a ?1 or more.
Marc Ricketts, UK

As companies have used computers to reduce staff levels they should be taxed in accordance with the tax revenue lost by the government. Perhaps that would persuade companies to use computers to improve their products and services and put some substance behind their exaggerated images.
John Michael, UK

I want to see tolls to tax urban folk coming into the countryside, clogging up the roads and leaving litter strewn everywhere!
Brian, England

More money for defence. The amount that Brown has announced additionally to the NHS budget is only a little less than the entire defence budget. With a war on (and yes, there is a war on) the armed forces should be expanded to tackle the enemy properly.
John M, NZ/UK

I'm a student. I don't drive and I don't smoke. I do drink, regularly. I don't pay tax, except where it can't be avoided. I live in one of the most expensive areas of the country and the place is a mess. Public transport, the hospital (with around a 72 hour wait in A&E) and the schools are a shambles, except the private school. Yet, Mr Blair and Mr Brown have failed to change anything. Classes are bigger, waiting lists as long or longer and the trains and buses always late. I don't get a grant from your hard earned money anymore, and as a result will pay back more over the next ten years than I ever received. Plus tax. The 'New' Labour government has proved itself unable to remedy the problems of the country, let's hope they move over and let someone else have a go. Ian Duncan-Smith at least has more sense, and seems more trustworthy than Mr Blair - he'd set the record straight.
Hayley, England

I want a 20% tax for those earning twenty thousand a year, I want a 40% tax for those earning fifty thousand a year and I want a 60% tax for those earning over one hundred thousand a year

Bob, UK
I want a 20% tax for those earning twenty thousand a year, I want a 40% tax for those earning fifty thousand a year and I want a 60% tax for those earning over one hundred thousand a year. I want compulsory registration of all land, so we know who owns what and I want all the tax loopholes closed. People have whinged about the unemployed, I'd like to whinge about the numerous tax dodges available to those who can easily afford to pay, but won't.
Bob, UK

The Labour government has piled on stealth tax after stealth tax, whilst using the old ploy of claiming not to be raising taxes since they've not increased the basic rate of income tax. They've finally run out of scams so they're going to have to come out and be honest and visibly raise general taxation. That's what all the leaks are suggesting. And will this benefit the NHS? Probably not. Instead they'll pile on more and more "incentives" that will divert attention from the task in hand, so that more effort has to go into managing the changes that providing the service. Furthermore, raising taxes does not necessarily lead to more money in the Treasury. Their general anti-business attitude will drive business abroad, and their preference of foreign workers over UK citizens will reduce the tax take.
Paul Rowlands, United Kingdom

My father is going to retire within a year. Is Mr Brown going to look at the Annuities rule?
Simon D, UK

If the money wasted on ridiculous wars was spent on the health service there wouldn't be such a problem

Otis, UK
I think we already pay too much tax. The revenue just needs to be distributed properly. If the money wasted on ridiculous wars was spent on the health service there wouldn't be such a problem. Another way to raise money for the NHS would be to increase VAT on junk food and subsidise locally produced fresh fruit and veg this could well encourage people to eat more healthily. I am also tired of subsidising other people's children all the time. Nowadays people can choose whether to have kids or not, so they should sit down and decide whether they can afford them before starting a family, not expect the state to pick up the bill all the time.
Otis, UK

I'm lucky enough to have escaped the clutches of Blair and company by moving to Canada. Here we pay a higher rate of income tax but do not have the stealth taxes to deal with. We have an excellent state owned transport system paid for with bonds and a decent health service. I will definitely help you vote out Tony and friends in the next general election with voting by proxy. I think it's time for the Liberals to have a go. Can't get any worse can it?
Mark S, Canada (ex-UK)

Although I am an American I have travelled many times in Britain and I think one of the projects the government could fund that would have a long lasting impact is a technological overhaul of the phone and network systems. Investing in broadband technology creates many jobs and supplies a larger tax base as a result. It's something that every western government will have to do sometime and this certainly includes the US.
Rob, USA

There are two things that really get up my nose as a higher rate tax payer. Firstly, for every £1 I earn I lose 40 p in tax which goes in part to fund some work-shy idler. I don't mind paying taxes to help people who are in genuine need but I know of many who won't work although they can, and many who do who pay no tax. Secondly if the really wealthy were to pay their taxes at the same rate we would all be better off. Still, we can't expect Gordon or Tony to upset their rich mates can we.
Peter, England

Contrary to some comments, I'd like to see the defence budget slashed, maybe even decimated. Yes, I know it's not going to happen, but with Britain's infrastructure in such a poor state why could the money saved not be spent on establishing a state-owned rail and road repair force, ideally using and training all those ex-soldiers removed from the army. Now, that would be a real service to the nation.
William Ramsden, UK

I feel that we are the generation who are paying for everything yet are expected to accept nothing in return

John B, UK
Personally speaking I'm dreading tomorrows budget. As a middle income earner just on the border of higher rate tax, a hike in NI will hit my family very severely. My wife is currently not working and is expecting our first child (no unemployment benefits or maternity benefits). We have a frighteningly large mortgage for a depressingly small house (but it's still cheaper than renting). We've done everything we can to cut back on our expenses - I'm lucky enough to be able to cycle to work and we have a frugal lifestyle, thankfully without debts. But I can't avoid NI and a 12% council tax hike. In a few months time I really think that we may find ourselves in the ludicrous position of having to take on debt whilst at the same time paying enough tax to support someone else's family.

I don't mind paying taxes, it's just that sometimes I feel that we are the generation who are paying for everything yet are expected to accept nothing in return, no pension guarantees, no benefits, and no recognition. At least allow us to transfer my wife's tax allowance, otherwise we would actually be better off financially if we separated and lived apart.
John B, UK

Having read all the admirable sentiments shown above there is one over-riding thing in the majority of contributors, "enough is enough". Gordon Brown will do what he pleases as the overwhelming majority in the House means he can't be defeated. The increased taxation in this country is destined to be higher than the rate of inflation yet pay increases, unless one is a 'fat cat' will fall well below this. Look at Council Taxation. what are we getting for our money? Put 10p on a litre of fuel and dispense with the road tax. Savings from the closure of the DVLC or at least cutting it back will save a fortune. Want more money for the NHS? Use the National Lottery for its funding.
Eric W, Bedfordshire, UK

Apparently, the annual tax take has risen from £264 billion in 1997, to around £400 billion. What I want, is an explanation of where all this money has gone & why we've had little or nothing to show for it.
Simon, UK

As someone else suggested, a switch away from income tax completely onto VAT and other sales-related taxes is an interesting idea. That way the very poor and very rich can decide how much tax to pay - the very rich will pay more for their champagne while the very poor can avoid taxes just as easily as those who can afford a good accountant, buy simply buying less. It would also encourage people to save more and slow the seemingly inexorable rush to credit.
Karl Peters, UK

I would like to see a budget that rewards innovation and productivity

Mario Thomas, UK
I would like to see a budget that rewards innovation and productivity and penalises money wasting enterprises - most notably the NHS. We pay about the right level of tax in this country, but funds are always diverted to projects with no end and no apparent budget. It's time to clear out bad management practices from the NHS and other government departments and ensure that we get the maximum return on our 'investment'. Put up duties on Cigarettes (because they cost the NHS time and money in helping addicts), abolish road tax and get rid of all of the administration and red tape needed to run that particular system and finally cut red tape for businesses in general - as there is far too much of it.
Mario Thomas, United Kingdom

Although it is a forlorn hope, I do not want to pay penny more in tax. Through taxation we already work, on average, for Gordon Brown until 10 June. That is 161 days. I think that is quite enough. Public services will not improve because they monolithic, centralist and statist.
Chris Klein, UK

I would like to see an increase in public spending and funding of academic research. Sustainable growth begins at the student level.
Axel Steuwer, UK

If this isn't enough to fund the system, then the system is wrong, not the amount of money going in to it

Tim, UK
I, like most people who have a reasonably paid job pay around 50% of earnings in tax, direct income tax, NI, VAT, Council Tax, petrol tax, Insurance tax etc. If this isn't enough to fund the system, then the system is wrong, not the amount of money going in to it. I am not happy to pay yet more tax to pour down the drain.
Tim, UK

If we live in a capitalist economy then we need a redistributive tax system. Taking money from this pot is not sponging off the state. Without a redistributive tax system how could we claim to have a democracy? The rich would be so much more powerful than the poor. Tax as a disincentive? That only works if everyone is businessman with variable income. Many of us are employed in positions where we can rise up a salary scale, but not to the degree where it would be affected by tax. Oh, and regarding benefit fraud; more money goes unclaimed than is stolen. Why? Because poor people are made to feel ashamed about taking the money they need.
Andrew Bartlett, UK

Where do those who keep saying we should increase tax to European levels to get European style service get their information? As testified by recent surveys the UK has a higher burden of tax than Germany, France etc, mostly due to the stealth taxes. The problem is not how much the Government have but WHAT they spend it on. Close down the immigration loopholes. Get rid of wastage in NHS etc and reform the benefit system. Then the rest can be used to improve services. I was not born rich. I worked hard through school and university. I am now Middle income and am sick of being taxed to fuel the lifestyle of the work-shy who cannot be bothered to better themselves.
Mike, UK

I do not expect to see any improvements in transport or the NHS. I do expect to see more vehicle tax, more petrol tax, more duty on alcohol, more income tax and more money wasted on consultants and PR men, because all this Government has done in 5 years is take money from honest people who have worked hard to reach a position where they earn big salaries, own homes and run cars and give it to lawyers, PR consultants, illegal immigrants and unemployed wasters who prefer to sponge off the state their entire lives.

Local government is also a disgrace - I pay a fortune every month for what? Sure they collect my rubbish every month but that's about it, if everyone in my block of flats paid a private company to get rid of it, it wouldn't cost 130 pounds per household. The local police are utterly useless and strangely we've just started having literature sent to us about what wonderful things the council has been doing recently, just in time for the local elections. What Gordon Brown SHOULD do is cut back on social security payments for the millions of people who obviously can't be bothered to find a job or educate themselves in order to be able to find a job, and stop wasting money on the NHS which is just a financial bottomless pit anyway. Spend money where it needs to be spent, such as real reforms that will really work in the police and the education systems, and more money for defence and proper investment in the railways.
John, UK

I think it's about time that those who pay in (for however long/short a time), reap the benefits over those who NEVER pay in but take money from the system for their whole (non-working) lives. Also, increase pensions to working people and less to those who never paid in to the system.
Wendy, U.K.

I worked hard to get my job, I work hard in my job and I am not prepared to pay a penny more tax for this Government to squander.
Ellie Goldsworthy, England

The house prices have gone up by 16 percent and council taxes gone up by 10 per cent. I work in telecom sector and with salary freezes it is becoming impossible to make ends meet especially in London and in counties like Surrey and Berkshire. Can Mr. Brown reduce the income tax for those people who have been forced to spend 50 to 60 percent of their net income just on housing.
Gagan, UK

I moved to France 8 years ago and to be honest I don't think I'll ever move back to Britain. In France we play less tax than in the UK and our health service is brilliant, the public transport system is fantastic in most areas and the general standard of living is way better. Britain is spending too much money on illegal immigrants, a health service that needs a major organisation change, people who con the system for benefits. Stop throwing money at systems that don't work, it doesn't help!
Fiona, France (ex-Scotland)

Who do this government think thehink they are kidding?, It was patently obvious that we would have to pay for Blair's war games in Afghanistan. So why are these creeps lying and saying that tax increases are required to improve the National Health Service?
Michael Woods, UK

We could sweep away the entire Inland revenue

Gerry Anstey, England
Can we repeal the "Temporary" income tax brought in to fight the Napoleonic wars? I think 200+ years is plenty temporary enough. It doesn't raise enough to cover the NHS anyway. We could sweep away the entire Inland revenue - has anyone worked out how much is wasted actually collecting tax? Put it all on indirect taxes, it collects itself and the public at least get to choose what to buy and hence pay tax on. Imagine, no more tax returns, no more avoidance, all those tax inspectors looking for another job, awesome! Tony Blair take note, the public would love you forever!
Gerry Anstey, England

Why don't we introduce a plastic bag levy as they have in Ireland. Every plastic bag attracts a tax of 0.15 euros. It's both a revenue earner and a measure for environmental responsibility.
Mar, UK

Have any of us felt the benefit of the £400 billion Gordon currently takes? Why should we trust him with more of our money! This government should be ashamed of their financial mismanagement, they have had 40% more money than the government took in 1997 (that's £100 billion more). The NHS is a failed system and it's time to accept that reform of the welfare state is vital. The NHS forces people to decide who lives and who dies, who gets the drugs and who does not, 10 hip replacements or a heart by-pass....is this something that we are proud of? Tax breaks on private health care with proper legislation would provide a framework to allow the NHS
Alan Pease, England

I live in London but I am being forced to now live outside the capital because of the cost of living here, as a whole, is too much. That means that I'll have to now spend four and a half hours travelling by public transport each day. A reduction in taxation would help me stay in the capital, but if I still have to move a reduction will probably increase my journey time. Will I ever benefit!
Andy Graham, England

I'd like an end to stealth taxes and VAT

A Walker, England
An end to child benefit, if you can't afford them, don't have them. (maybe free contraception instead!) More money for the police and a special tax on company rep's who clog up our motorways doing tens of thousands of miles a year to turn up when not requested and a phone call would have sufficed! While we're at it, how about a refuse tax on junk mail and those bits of paper that fall out of every magazine you buy, and a call centre tax for those companies that phone you incessantly throughout the day! Ideally I'd like an end to stealth taxes and VAT, and it all to be added to income tax so you'd know exactly how much you pay. Then nobody could evade it. What are the odds of that though!
A Walker, England

An honest budget with a promise to sort out waste and sleaze (there goes that flying pig again!)
Simon, UK

I think the Government should not increase taxes but they charge people for visits to the NHS. Payment should be according to their income, free NHS should be for the elderly and children under a certain age. The bonus and cash payouts to young girls having babies is a shame as it encourages young teenagers to have babies rather than go out and work as they get more income from staying at home.

Then you get the big shots that set their own salaries while the people who actually put them there get a disgusting £4.00 per hour minimum wage. If it was not for those thousands of little people who pay their taxes although they do not even get enough to feed themselves still


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