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Income tax is the UK’s biggest revenue raiser, and is always high on the political agenda. A series of policy changes in the past 15 years have added complexity, with high marginal rates at arbitrary points. And there have been sharp changes of direction on the personal allowance and the higher-rate threshold, culminating in the current multi-year freeze of thresholds, which is set to be the single biggest tax rise since the 1970s. Recent reports indicate that the Prime Minister intends to cut income tax rates in advance of the general election.

What is the plan for income tax? How many should have to pay it, and who should pay higher rates? Is it right to withdraw the personal allowance from people with incomes above £100,000 and to use income tax to withdraw child benefit from families with a high earner – or, if not, what should be done instead? Should the marriage allowance be expanded, reformed or abolished? Why did the rate schedule go from being relatively simple to being riddled with these bumps and anomalies? These are some of the questions our expert panel considered in this topical debate.

The expert panel included:

  • Gary Ashford (chair) - President, Chartered Institute of Taxation
  • John Barnett - Partner, Burges Salmon, and Chair, CIOT Technical Policy and Oversight Committee
  • Fran Bennett - Associate Fellow, Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford

  • Nigel Mills - Conservative MP for Amber Valley and former tax adviser

  • Tom Waters - Associate Director and Head of Income, Work and Welfare, Institute for Fiscal Studies

The format for this event was short speeches / presentations from panellists followed by a discussion, with the opportunity for audience members to make comments and put questions to our panel. 

This event is funded by