TaxPersonal Tax‘Tax burden’ banned by the Treasury

'Tax burden' banned by the Treasury

Treasury chief secretary Andrew Smith has instructed ministers not to use the word 'tax burden' in public as it is thought it could draw attention to tax increases, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Instead Smith has issued an edict instructing colleagues to use the euphemistic ‘taxes and social security contributions as a proportion of GDP’.

The word ‘burden’ is believed to suggest that, under Labour, families and businesses have been forced to assume a greater share of taxes.

Lord McIntosh, the Labour spokesman in the House of Lords, coined the convoluted phrase last week. During a discussion on taxation, he was challenged by Tory peer Lord Saatchi to repeat his earlier claim that the tax burden would not fall the following year.

McIntosh repeated his statement by adding that what the Lord Saatchi called the tax burden, he preferred to call ‘property taxes and social security contributions as a proportion of GDP’.

This was not the first example of changes to the ministerial lexicon ordered by chancellor Gordon Brown’s Treasury. The word ‘spending’ has been replaced by ‘investment’, and ‘partnership’ is preferred to ‘privatisation’.

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Pre-Budget statement coverage

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