Monday 2 June
Tax Freedom Day – the day in the year when we stop working for the government and start working for ourselves – is June 2 this year.
That means that for 155 days of the year, every penny earned by the average UK resident was taken to support government expenditures.
When Gordon Brown became chancellor in 1997, Tax Freedom Day was May 26 – a whole week earlier.
Unfortunately, the true picture could be even worse than these figures suggest. Last year Tax Freedom Day actually came three days later than forecast, because the economy grew more slowly than the government expected. The signs are that 2008 could be no different.
And if government borrowing is included, Tax Freedom Day does not come until June 14.
Government spending will reach £600bn in 2008. That's £10,000 for every man, woman and child in the UK – and twice as much as when Gordon Brown became Chancellor.
If Gordon Brown had only raised public spending in line with inflation, he could have abolished income tax, corporation tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax by now – leaving the taxpayer some £200bn better off.
Dr Eamonn Butler, the director of the Adam Smith Institute, said:
"The Treasury loathes Tax Freedom Day because they don't want people to be able to picture just how much tax they pay. They prefer to use stealth taxes and an ever more complicated tax code to hide the reality from taxpayers. The value of Tax Freedom Day is that it pulls the wool from people's eyes."