Home   News   National   Article

Fact check: Direct tax rates have fallen for working households

PA News

When challenged about the Conservatives’ tax pledges during a BBC Panorama interview on June 10, Rishi Sunak said: “The average tax rate faced by a typical person in work is the lowest it has been in over half a century.”

The Prime Minister added, when pushed on the impact of frozen tax thresholds under his premiership, that “an average worker is facing the lowest tax rate on their earnings that they have seen in this country for over 50 years”, and specified he was talking about “the effective tax rate”.

Because significant changes in types and rates of taxation have taken place over the last 50 years, the Prime Minister’s claim is difficult to independently corroborate over that period for individual workers.

However, this appears to be correct according to Treasury analysis (partly based on data from the Office of National Statistics) of the spring budget in March in the specific circumstance of a “full-time median earner with no children and no interaction with the benefits system”. It also applies to other household demographics, when referring to direct taxation, but not when changes to benefits are taken into account.

The effective tax rate is the average percentage of income an individual pays in taxes which can be worked out by dividing their total tax by their taxable income.

The tax-free threshold (the amount of money a worker can earn before paying tax) has been frozen at the 2021/22 tax year level of £12,570. Workers then pay 20% income tax on all their earnings about that, up to £50,270 – a figure which has also been frozen at the 2021/22 level, with higher rates for any further wages.

The median salary for full-time employees was £34,963 in April 2023, according to the most recent Annual Survey for Hours and Earnings from the ONS, so a median earner would not pay the higher rate of 40% income tax.

In April, the Government cut the national insurance rate from 10% to 8% for employees, having also dropped it from 12% to 10% in January.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More