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Taxpayers tot up the lifetime bills; pounds 50,000 earners will hit the million-pound mark.

Byline: BY ALAN WESTON Daily Post Staff

THE scale of the council tax burden placed on working people in Merseyside over a lifetime has been laid bare in new research.

Accountancy firm Deloitte has calculated a Liverpool council tax payer in a Band D property will pay pounds 90,000 over their lifetime.

Even in the cheapest Band A zone, taxpayers face a bill of pounds 60,000.

The estimate was worked out on the assumption the individual is single and paying council tax from ages 25 to 30, and so is entitled to 25 % discount on the full annual cost.

It also assumed the individual is in a couple paying council tax from 30 to 75, and so effectively bears 50% of the annual cost.

The calculations start from actual council tax amounts for 2005/6 for both a Band A and a Band D property, based on an annual increase of 3.7% (the actual 2005 increase on 2004).

Sean Beech, tax partner at Deloitte in Water Street, said: "When you add it up, it's an enormous amount of money.

"If you include income tax, national insurance and VAT, the figure is closer to pounds 1m.

"However, people's earnings will also have to increase to keep pace with what they are paying. Over a lifetime, it's a fair proportion to pay in council tax, but it is also important to measure the benefits and what you are getting back for that pounds 90,000 from the local authority.

"If people believe they're getting value for money in return, they'll not mind so much.

"However, councils do not always appear accountable - people need to see what they are getting back and councils need to do a better job in communicating to every person how they are spending their money.

"It's not just about pavements getting swept and roads being gritted - it's about all the other services such as providing nurseries, schools, and helping pensioners and the disabled.

"It's a commonly held view taxes are too high, and services too low. It's a battle that will be raging for many years to come."

In separate research, it is estimated families with incomes of less than pounds 50,000 a year will pay a total of pounds 1m tax during their lifetimes, while those earning just over pounds 30,000 will pay pounds 600,000.

Insurance giant Axa used figures from the Office for National Statistics to calculate a household with two earners under 30 would need a combined income of less than pounds 48,000 a year to pay pounds 1m tax in their lifetimes.

Households on average earnings of pounds 30,250 would pay more than 35% of their gross income in tax.

Income tax and National Insurance account for the lion's share, or more than pounds 311,000 during the average family's lifetimes. Indirect taxes also make an impact, with fuel tax costing more than pounds 25,000.

Despite campaigns to discourage smoking and drinking, Axa claims the average household spends pounds 17,000 on tobacco tax and more than pounds 15,000 on alcohol duty.

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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 28, 2005
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