If an ordinary man in the street were asked to guess the number of pages making up UK tax law, he could not get anywhere near the right answer: he could imagine that it could be more than 100 pages; he might suspect that it could be as many as 1000 (but why?); he would say that 10,000 was out of the question, there could not be that many rules, it would take an army of civil servants to operate, no-one could understand it.

But the true number is over 17,000, and it does take an army of civil servants to run it. The number of employees working for HMRC (full-time equivalent) is over 71,000, which is a remarkably large number considering that most of income tax, VAT, corporation tax, and other taxes are collected by employers and companies and sent in. It’s not as if tax collectors have to go knocking on doors and demanding payment!

Our tax system is complicated because it has existed for 200 years, and every successive government fiddles around with it searching for some perceived electoral advantage. We will never make significant improvements to it by manipulating the details. We should tear it up and write a new, simple version. We should have a tax system which looks as if it had been designed on purpose.

The Sustainable Population Party entirely accepts and endorses the findings of the 2020 Tax Commission, and reported in their internationally acclaimed report ‘The Single Income Tax”. The objective is that Government must reform taxes to make them lower, simpler and more transparent. The proposals would result in substantial tax cuts for households across the income distribution and stimulate the economy.

Perhaps they would also allow a reduction in HMRC workforce saving money which can be used to pay off the debt.