Ahead of the budget, the TaxPayers’ Alliance reports, More Britons believe the moon landings were faked than think that taxes are too low. Headlines include:

  • People underestimate the real rate of tax on their income.
  • Fewer than one in seven people realise the Government plans to increase the debt, not reduce it.
  • Most do not understand the impact of Employers’ National Insurance.
  • Most people have no idea how much money the Government is spending on their behalf.

And, earning the title of the article:

  • Only a tiny proportion want higher taxes and higher government spending. More people believe that alien life forms have visited the earth in UFOs (19 per cent) than think the government spends too little and taxes us too little (12 per cent). 16 per cent said the current balance was about right, while 50 per cent thought the government spends too much and taxes too much – 64 per cent of those who expressed an opinion.
  • People accept that the current level of retirement benefits is unsustainable. People are more likely to believe that the moon landings were fake and man has never visited the moon (13 per cent) than under 50s are to believe the government will be able to afford to provide the current levels of state pension and pensioner benefits when they retire (12 per cent).

As ever, the TPA has found an eye-catching way to illustrate information which, as can be seen in the results, if often too dry to attract attention it should. Their easy-to-read Fiscal Factbook is available here.


  1. It would be good if it was only the electorate that didn’t understand Employers’ National Insurance. Unfortunately, remitting a smidgin of Employers’ NI will cost almost as much in transaction costs as will be saved by employers. Why not abolish all Employers’ National Insurance completely ? Yes, it would cost 50bn in round numbers, but it would get the Keynesians off the Chancellor’s back by encouraging direct employment growth while keeping the right wing happy by cutting taxes. And much safer than encouraging the next housing bubble by setting up a UK version of Fannie Mae, which everyone will have cause to regret.

    There is an underlying question as to whether companies are starved of cash or whether it’s just lack of demand from the middle classes. My guess is that the Chancellor doesn’t know. Either way, I don’t like the idea of stimulating demand by ramping up house prices.