The Spectator

Barometer | 24 March 2012

The Chicago school

David Cameron has called for the building of a new generation of ‘garden cities’. In Britain the term is most associated with Letchworth, founded in 1903 by Ebenezer Howard, who formed the Garden City Association in 1899. His concept was for a series of towns with populations of up to 32,000, spread over 6,000 acres.

— But the original garden city was, ironically, a city now more associated with the birth of the skyscraper: Chicago, which adopted the motto Urbs in Horto, ‘city in a garden’, in 1837, to describe the patchwork of buildings and gardens in its heart.

— Howard lived in the city in the 1870s, a few years before some of those gardens disappeared beneath the early skyscrapers.

Driven away

The government announced a study into new toll roads. How much will British motorists pay for toll motorways? The M6 Toll, bypassing the original M6 and opened in December 2003, provides an insight.          

Car toll Average daily
number vehicles
£3 December 2004 45,500
£3.50 Oct–Dec 2005 44,300
£3.50 Oct–Dec 2006 51,000
£4 Oct–Dec 2007 44,400
£4.50 Oct–Dec 2008 39,300
£4.70 Oct–Dec 2009 38,600
£5 Oct–Dec 2010 38,400
£5 Oct–Dec 2011 34,300

Who pays

A recent study showed that the best-paid 1 per cent earn an eighth of the total paid in salaries, but contribute over a quarter of all income tax. What about the rest of us?

Share of earnings Share of income tax
13% Top 1% 28%
25% Top 5% 47%
35% Top 10% 58%
55% Top 25% 74%
23% Bottom 50% 10%
9% Bottom 25% 2.5%
3% Bottom 10% 0.5%
Source: HMRC 2011-12

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