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    Former MSE Lawrence
    'Do you think you get good value from paying tax?' poll discussion
    • #1
    • 11th Jan 11, 9:39 AM
    'Do you think you get good value from paying tax?' poll discussion 11th Jan 11 at 9:39 AM
    Poll started 11 January 2010:

    Do you think you get good value from paying tax?

    We pay tax as a cost of living in the wider civil society, so that all the functions it requires, both for us and others are met.

    Yet if we were (probably wrongly) to think in purely selfish terms, do you feel you gain more than you lose?

    Total you pay in: Income tax, VAT, council tax and others
    Total you receive: Benefits, tax credits, NHS treatments, police, national security, council services etc
    Which of these do you think best reflects your situation?

    I receive much more than I pay in
    - 345 votes (4 %)
    I receive more than I pay in - 349 votes (4 %)
    I receive a little more than I pay in - 213 votes (3 %)
    It's roughly the same - 383 votes (5 %)
    I pay in a little more than I receive - 438 votes (6 %)
    I pay in more than I receive - 2,240 votes (28 %)
    I pay in much more than I receive - 3,899 votes (50 %)

    Voting has now closed but you can still click 'post reply' to discuss below. Thanks

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    Last edited by Former MSE Lawrence; 18-01-2011 at 2:55 PM.
Page 2
    • Gordon the Moron
    • By Gordon the Moron 12th Jan 11, 7:52 AM
    • 1,461 Posts
    • 741 Thanks
    Gordon the Moron
    Personally I think the amount of council tax and income tax etc I pay is very good value for receiving so many public services. Reading the above comments it seems almost everyone is hung up on the fact that they don't claim benefits. But the "benefits" we get from paying tax go much further, they pay for the following...
    Childless, don't use them
    Hospitals, doctors' surgeries
    Not used either in the last 10 years, luckily in good health
    Refuse collection and recycling
    Don't live in my own place so don't pay council tax which pays for this
    Social services (old people's homes, meals on wheels, home helps, children's homes, social workers, day centres etc)
    Don't use them
    Parks, leisure centres, swimming pools
    Village halls and community facilities
    Don't use any of the above apart from leisure centre, which I pay for and don't believe is a big loss maker
    Public libraries
    Don't use
    Public footpaths and bridleways
    Roads and street lighting
    I think if everyone paid as much fuel tax as I did, that would cover this, I also pay other taxes !
    Parks and open spaces
    Waste disposal
    Again on this one, don't pay council tax
    Country parks
    Police, ambulance, fire services
    Not used any of these in the last 10 years either
    and much more besides...

    I think all this for what I pay is good value but then I seem to be in the minority!!
    Originally posted by sunstarrr
    I agree we get good value for money in MOST things, I also don't have a problem with taking out less than I put in, I just can't believe I don't.
    If you don't like what I say slap me around with a large trout and PM me to tell me why.

    If you do like it please hit the thanks button.
    • danothy
    • By danothy 12th Jan 11, 7:53 AM
    • 2,056 Posts
    • 2,690 Thanks
    As a student I'm fairly sure I'm getting more out than I put in, partly because of the education (all though I fear the cost of that is just being deferred at the moment) but mainly because of the council tax relief full time students get which would be a massive slice of the pie that is the tax I have to contribute.

    I still pay VAT, VED, fuel duty, tax on the interest from my savings (as modest as that is), NI and income tax on the income from my weekend job and teaching assistance for the university, air passenger duty and alcohol duties. I wouldn't think that this covers the portion of public services supposedly available to me (although the police appear to have done nothing when my bike was stolen so it doesn't seem to me that public services are divided up evenly).

    I am expecting to become a net contributor after I graduate as all the tax relief I currently enjoy will end and I will also be faced with repaying my (substantial) student loan.

    I wonder if anyone thinks this is unfair?
    If you think of it as 'us' verses 'them', then it's probably your side that are the villains.
  • SurreyGirl
    Are people really that dim?
    Well said Yorkshiremeat and Sunstarrr. I am sick of people who have NO idea how 'the other half' live moaning about the state of the country, scroungers etc.

    I am very proud of our NHS Services, Emergency Services and general attititude to a civil society. Do the people who talk about "bins once a fortnight, Police did nothing, don't go to the doctors" really want a lawless society with no support for the needy or vulnerable?

    Good luck to them if they think they could 'opt out' and pay for private insurance to provide the same cover as Police, Fire Services, Council Amenities etc - they're either choosing to ignore all the the 'free' things they take for granted ...or perhaps they've just been reading The Daily Mail!?
    • danothy
    • By danothy 12th Jan 11, 9:56 AM
    • 2,056 Posts
    • 2,690 Thanks
    Do the people who talk about "bins once a fortnight, Police did nothing, don't go to the doctors" really want a lawless society with no support for the needy or vulnerable?
    Originally posted by SurreyGirl
    While the police did nothing about my bike (and I am annoyed about that) I still do appreciate what they do overall. I'm very willing to pay tax to fund things like the SOCA for example and even things like the EA and the Ofwat/com etc. regulators, neither of which have my personal interests at heart but that of societies (obviously some quangos are better value than others). My comment about the police not acting over a bike theft was just one aspect of where tax money supposedly providing an individual front line service seemed ineffective and I didn't feel that part of it gave value.
    If you think of it as 'us' verses 'them', then it's probably your side that are the villains.
    • BigSofty
    • By BigSofty 12th Jan 11, 10:36 AM
    • 20 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    NHS Salary From The State
    I reckon my family receives more than we pay. We don't receive benefits and I have an above average salary but as my wife works for the NHS I'm counting her income as a part of receiving from the state. We also have 3 children in state schools and I use the road system which isn't cheap.
    • dam50
    • By dam50 12th Jan 11, 11:10 AM
    • 8 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Corollary question
    I too voted 'pay in much more' but I think there should be a follow up question - 'is it right that you should?'. If we all paid directly for what we are using at the moment the I don't think we would be living in much of a society. The whole point of taxes etc is that you pay when you can afford it (ie are earning) so that the safety net is there when you can't.
    • chanie
    • By chanie 12th Jan 11, 11:39 AM
    • 2,362 Posts
    • 12,934 Thanks
    3 years ago, I would have said I pay in a lot more than I get out - as I was a relatively healthy person with no dependents, who worked full time.

    However, I am now a home-owner with an 8 month old son, so I did the NHS during my pregnancy and and afterwards. I also used SureStart when I was on my maternity leave. Over the summer, I expect to use the parks and maybe libraries with DS.

    I still think overall that I have paid in more than I have used, now that I have DS, this will start to even itself out over the years and then when I get old.

    My one bugbear?
    Most services seem to be open during the week, Mon-Fri. I work, full-time, Mon-Fri so I'm paying for services I rarely get to use.
    • stevemcol
    • By stevemcol 12th Jan 11, 12:25 PM
    • 1,650 Posts
    • 781 Thanks
    Voted D becuase I'd guess I break even.
    I don't really care though because that's not what taxation is all about.
    You contribute based on what you can afford and take based on what you need.

    Yes there are spongers bouncing along the bottom but they are massively outweighed by tax avoiders and evaders at the top and to be fair in the middle of society. Most self employed people I know, if they were honest, pay less tax than they should.
    Apparently I'm 10 years old on MSE. Happy birthday to me...etc
    • GreenQueen
    • By GreenQueen 12th Jan 11, 1:11 PM
    • 465 Posts
    • 2,245 Thanks
    I voted that I receive much more than I put in. However in the past (5+ years ago), I would definitely have been putting in much more than I received. I'm now on a much smaller wage and receive some benefits, have a child who has just started school and have recently had a poor run of health (nothing serious, but costly to the NHS)

    Your net contributor/receiver status will change through your life, due to health, lifestyle changes (either chosen e.g. children or enforced e.g. redundancy). When I was a significant contributor, I was very happy to do that, as I could afford it and saw it as a responsibility to put into the system, and I also didn't know what I would need in the future (so a bit of insurance!)

    Couldn't really say whether I'm a lifetime contributor or beneficiary - too many variables!
  • avinabacca with other failed socialist societies......
    Originally posted by teddyco
    "Socialist society"?

    When was this, then?
    Oh come on, don't be silly.

    It's the internet
    - it's not real!

  • evespikey
    David Willetts targeted this question in his book "The Pinch: How the baby boomers took over their children's future and how they can give it back". He basically details the amount the baby boomers put in through tax, and how much they got out of it. He looks at the fact that the baby boomers paid low taxes, got free education, cheap housing, low fuel costs, yet this was not sustainable economically. So through this the country ended up in debt resulting in the baby boomer's children paying higher taxes, higher fuel, much higher university costs and getting far LESS back from the system than they paid, and will also pay in the future.

    So it seems it depends what years you were born in when calculating whether you get more out of the system when you were put in. Willetts calculates this so the baby boomers get over 100% of what they put in, and the young generation now get less than 100%. You can find his exact figures in his book and in the podcast.

    I predict the most popular reply on the poll will be that people feel as though they pay far more than they get back (despite this often being not the case).

    You can also view him discussing this at Warwick University. Can't post links, but just google 'David Willetts Warwick University' and you'll find the podcast.
  • James129
    I pay in much more than recieve. My income is around 35500 so I pay 20% tax and 11% NI.

    Infact I have no recourse to public funds as I am from States and been here since 2007.
  • mayfly1
    Tax Freedom Day.
    'Tax Freedom Day' is now estimated as May 30th. That is five full months of every year that we work just to pay the government.
    By ANY civilised standards that is a disgrace. It would be bad enough if we had an efficient and fair society, but when we witness how consecutive Governments pour £Billions of our money down the drain through incompetence, stupidity, hairbrained schemes, and illegal wars, it is even more outrageous.
    If our government were a commercial company, charging us for services provided, they would be investigated for profiteering and breach of contract.
    We could save £6.5 Billion at a stroke by quitting that corrupt, inefficient, bottomless money pit - Europe.
    • arrontdep
    • By arrontdep 12th Jan 11, 3:05 PM
    • 416 Posts
    • 385 Thanks
    My wage is about £1,250 a month.
    I pay somewhere around £220 income tax.
    I pay £45 in national insurance contributions.
    I pay £75 a month council tax.
    In the 3 main pure taxes and not addition to purchases like VAT etc. I pay about a quarter of my wage out.

    The main thing that I receive for my £340 a month is that the council take my rubbish away. Over Christmas this service has been attrocious and my 2 recycling bins are overflowing.

    The police. Absolutely useless. I have been attacked, I phone the police who said they would turn up to where my attackers were (I spotted them, they were outside a shop) and they never turned up. They decided to turn up to my house 3 days later to take a statement. A friend of mine was dealing with an assault case and they lost some evidence and statements of witnesses which caused the case to sort of fail before trying to take it to court.

    The hospital. I went in with a perennial absess and came out with MRSA, need I say more?

    The fire service. I have had no dealings with them and hope I never do, I can't comment on them but I am sure they would be very useful if needed.

    I have had a look what my local council pays for with the council tax I pay out. If I found them all useful then it would be great value for money. They could probably cut 90% of those costs and nobody in my city would notice the difference at all.

    I pay far too much tax to what I have received back and if I ever lost my job I don't think that I could depend on the welfare system to financially help me in the way that I've financially helped it.
    Last edited by arrontdep; 12-01-2011 at 3:08 PM.
  • Harry Flashman
    It seems to me that there are 'givers' and 'takers'.

    Givers are those who work and pay their taxes. Takers are the spongers who don't. (A sweeping generalisation - but I'm sure you catch my drift).

    I work, drive, drink and smoke - I'm screwed regularly every day by an innefficient government that does very little for me or my family.

    Basic services (police, fire, refuse, etc) are fine for taxation. I'd much rather pay insurance for things I 'might' need.
    • Clarie
    • By Clarie 12th Jan 11, 6:16 PM
    • 125 Posts
    • 181 Thanks
    I receive much more..
    As an employee of the NHS, then I'm definitely one of the great receivers. No matter how much tax I pay, I always have some money left over to do with what I like (pay rent, buy food etc).
  • hermanmunster
    I'm an NHS employee too but deffo pay out far, far more than I receive.
    • lgs6753
    • By lgs6753 12th Jan 11, 7:47 PM
    • 23 Posts
    • 39 Thanks
    This is not what the Americans call "a zero sum game". In other words, the Government does not "give out" as much as it takes in. Setting aside Government borrowing, a great deal of what we pay in taxes does not find its way back to us in the form of services or benefits, but goes to pay for the administration of the tax system, benefits system, and other Government activities.
    On the whole therefore, far more people make a net contribution than gain a net benefit. The difference is in bureaucracy, which is a shocking waste of our resources.
    If (say) the NHS was run by a private company, that company would make a profit, supplying services that cost less than the revenue it receives. As things stand, the NHS doesn't make a profit, but is instead burdened by the enormous inefficiency of its bureaucracy, together with the Government departments that regulate it.
    The way out of our economic problems is simply for Government, local and national, to do less. Not try and cut existing services, but to either discontinue them, or sell them off.
    I suggest we don't need a nationalised health service, we don't need state-run ambulance and fire services, we don't need local authorities meddling in education, we don't need local and national government officials telling us what is "best" for us, we don't need land and property being owned by government, we need to be freed from the tyranny of the public sector, and their friends in the unions.
    If all of these services were delivered by private companies, people could subscribe to whatever services they want, and the (much slimmed-down) tax system could fund those who would otherwise suffer.
    Welfarism/socialism has utterly failed, and our current economic problems are the result of Bliar/Brown and their predecessors thinking that they know best what is good for us. They have been completely wrong, and their ideas are discredited.
    Power to the people!
    Last edited by lgs6753; 12-01-2011 at 7:49 PM.
  • carmen_sm8
    I voted for 'about the same' - not because I sit on the fence but because having looked at emigrating and seeing the cost of private healthcare, insurances and other things we take for granted in this country, I think I do get a fair deal! I'll admit that when I was working silly hours and having nearly half my paypacket swiped off me, I grumbled - who wouldn't - but then I have to put my hands up and accept that I have now had two lovely children and stayed at home and I suppose I still receive the same amount of 'services' whilst not earning that I did when I was 'contributing'.

    Funny thing though as I never could claim for any benefits though whilst I chose to stay at home to bring up my children! So scrimping now on everything because there is no additional help.... hmmm perhaps I am now changing my mind! Ha ha! maybe I should have put in that I overpaid all those years of working, given the little support I get as a stay at home mum!

    But nevertheless, NHS, Libraries, council provisions, police, fire etc... you can't argue that these are not taken for granted sometimes ! :0)
    It loves me not, it loves me SO, Money be my Friend, not Foe, A new leaf I will turn, For human beings can but learn... Danni L (2008)
  • Freddie_Snowbits
    Thirty years ago, rates was low and we had only one bin collection.

    Today we have three bin collections, normal, pigswill and the recycle inspectorate. And a collection of diversity officials whom say we live in such a harmonious land.
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