Following news of Keef's very excellent tax arrangements, it's worth reminding ourselves how we're fixed. Or stuffed might be a better word.
One of the many nefarious ways Gordo has racked up our taxes is via fiscal drag. That's where tax thresholds are not fully indexed to rising incomes, thereby stealthily dragging more and more people into higher rate brackets.
Let's take a look at a key one: the 40% income tax threshold.
In 1996-97, it stood at £25,500 (ie any taxable income above £25,500 was taxed at 40%). This year it stands at £33,300, an increase of 30.6%. But incomes (as measured by GDP at market prices) have increased by over 60%, twice as much. Which means that relative to incomes, the threshold should now be £42,500. As things stand, its real value has fallen by 20%.
As a direct result, there's been a 60% (!) increase in the number of people who have to pay higher rate tax- up from 2.1 million in 1996-97 to 3.3 million now. Here's the grisly picture (red bars are the real value of the threshold, blue bars are the number of payers):
And it doesn't stop there. As you will be well aware, fiscal drag has also increased other taxes under Brown, including Stamp Duty and Inheritance Tax. The Institute for Fiscal Studies totted up the total amount of all drag during Labour's first two terms, and came up with a figure of 1.8% of GDP, the equivalent of about 6 pence on the standard rate of income tax.
Which is a lorra lorra dosh to be dragged out of anyone. And it's been dragged without Gordo having to lift a finger.
You know what? I think I might join the Doc in some of that Mother's Little Helper. Or whatever they call it now.