This weekend the Lib Dems have unveiled two policies which make it very hard for me to vote for them. The first is a commitment to the pension triple lock and the second is increasing income taxes to fund the NHS.
Here’s the thing: The median earner in the UK, on a touch under £30k per year, already loses slightly under a third of their income in tax before it even reaches their bank account, then 20% on most purchases, and for younger people, there’s also the factor of rent prices, which is essentially an incredibly badly implemented welfare tax to support older people.
Most people already pay enough tax and don’t get much for it.
Committing to the triple lock is bad because it increases the tax burden on younger people to support old people. We have spent the last seven years aggressively cutting working age benefits while pensioners have been insulated from the struggles of everyone else. Alongside this, pensioner incomes at all but the highest percentiles exceed working age incomes – you have to go up to the top 20 percent before working incomes are higher than pensioner incomes (see graph below). There is no reason to continue transferring income from young people to old people because old people currently have more income!
Committing to rising income tax by 1p per pound to fund the NHS is also bad because most younger people are already net contributors to the NHS, so again, it increases the tax burden on young people to support old people. I am a youngish person who might make use of the NHS sometime in the near future to pursue surgery on my foot (morton’s neuroma). I estimate there’s a 50% chance of this happening. But here’s the kicker: the waiting list for actual treatment will be a few weeks to see my GP, then 2+ months to see a podiatrist and then it could easily be more than six months for surgery. Depending on how disruptive to my life the neuroma proves to be (and since I rely on the function of my foot to get to work, it could be very disruptive), I might decide that’s not acceptable and choose to go private, in which case, why am I paying taxes to support the NHS? I’m paying twice.
Sorry, Tim. I’m out.