James Forsyth

Fiscal drag

Fiscal drag
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It is good to see the Tories calling fiscal drag what it is, a tax rise by another name. Fiscal drag is a result of holding income tax thresholds steady while both prices and earnings are increasing. This means that more people have to pay more of their income in tax. Gordon Brown indulging in this ploy so often as Chancellor was one of the main reasons that the number of people paying the 40p rate pretty much doubled between 1997 and 2008.

One other good thing about the Tory line on fiscal drag today, is that it will put pressure on them to raise personal allowances and income tax thresholds in line with inflation every year. If they don’t, they will be—by their own definition—raising taxes.