Two of today's newspapers have reports that throw light on the difference between what the government says about tax and what the people who collect it actually end up doing.

The Telegraph reports on a recent study by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS), which shows that middle and upper earners have paid the price for over a decade of redistributive taxes. This is despite government assertions that they are the friends of the middle classes and business.

Any household with a gross income of £40,000 a year has, it seems, lost out under Labour. The richest are up to 15% worse off and the poorest are actually 12% better off. This actually makes Labour the friend of its traditional core voters.

With another £19 billion of tax being raised by the latest round of tax rises things are going to get tighter for the higher earners, many of whom run small businesses.

But these small businesses are possibly being needlessly forced to the wall by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) according to a Times report.

There are claims that HMRC are at the centre of the failure of Jarvis engineering as well as Highland Airways.

Bank of America and Bank of Ireland felt they had to put Jarvis into administration as they believed HMRC amongst others were lining up to bankrupt the company.

With Highland Airways, many Scottish MPs are saying that it was the taxman that had pushed the company over the edge.

These recent harsher actions by HMRC fly in the face of government claims that they are trying to keep businesses up and functioning.

According to the IFS over the next four years, at the current rate, at least 10p in every £1 of tax will go on servicing debt. That's while keeping our AAA rating, which will be sorely tested.

Since the budget 10 year Gilt yields have risen from 3.9% to 4.035% (prices have fallen), which shows the nervousness of the markets over the future ability of a government to repay UK debt.

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