The Treasury chief LibDem MP Danny Alexander, has made it abundantly clear that the tax burden is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Speaking to the Observer, he said that in order to balance the nation's books tax must remain at its current level for at least the length of this parliament.
He was also less than forthcoming when pressed on when the tax levels may start to be eased.
But apart from balancing the nation's books he also wants to pursue his party's (and the coalitions?) aims of making the tax system 'fairer' and 'greener'.
"The plan we set out is a plan to rebalance the tax system. We need the tax revenues from the taxes we are putting up in order to help us reduce the deficit. But we also want to rebalance the tax system so that particularly people on lower incomes keep more of what they earn of their own money when they go out to work so that they are encouraged to go out to work. In due course [we will be] looking at other ways to rebalance, looking at green taxes. It is about rebalancing." he told the Observer.
In the light of the recent report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) saying that those on lower incomes will suffer most, especially pensioners or those with children, this may be a move to show that the government intend to extract its pound of flesh from the wealthier over the next five years.
When governments talk about fairer taxes, they normally mean 'let's tax a minority more. that way our core voters won't get too annoyed'. Is it 'fair' that someone who works hard or is prudent with their money should be taxed more highly than others? Conversely is it fair that someone should benefit just for being the son or daughter of someone rich? In both cases it will all depend on what side of the fence you sit. What is 'fair' to one is not 'fair' to another.
When governments talk about greener taxes they mean 'let's tax the motorist more, just enough to make it hurt but not enough to actually drive them out of their cars or we will lose revenue'.
Governments know that as they tinker with tax laws there will be a bevy of tax and financial advisers well able to shield their rich clients' money from revenue collection. The rich also have complex financial affairs that takes time and effort to assess, far easier to get the revenue through PAYE. They also know that the cost of goods and wages etc are all changed as the tax rules change, the end result being that the guy at the bottom always picks up the tab anyway. Whatever the so-called motives, tax will continue to be levied the most against the easiest targets. It's not about 'fairness', it's all about volume and ease of collection.
I will change my mind on that when the banks' profits and top bankers bonuses take a tax hammering.