The UK Libertarian Party: First press release regarding major policy topic: personal income tax: abolition thereof

David Davis 

UK Libertarian Party calls for the abolition of personal income tax 

The UK Libertarian Party has started the new year with a call to scrap personal income tax.

Party Leader, Patrick Vessey, said, “Income Tax raised £153 billion in 2006/07, about one quarter of the £587 billion spent by goverment last year.

“But savings on unnecessary spending could easily be found: for example, current annual spending on Britain’s hundreds of unaccountable QUANGOs — including such luminaries as the British Potato Council, the Milk Development Council and the Wine Standards Board — is running at around £175 billion.

“The Libertarian Party believes that the tax burden should be substantially reduced, and that those taxes that remain should be levied on spending, not on income. This policy will reward those – especially the poorest — who spend within their means and who save for their future.”

The Party’s Director of Communications, Chris Mounsey, added, “In 2002/03, the government spent £420 billion. Were we to return to those spending levels, we could abolish personal income tax and still have £13 billion left over.

“The people of Britain are beginning to understand that simply throwing money at public services doesn’t work. The Libertarian Party is dedicated to allowing every person in this country to choose how their hard-earned money is spent and the best way in which to do that is not to steal it from them in the first place.”

The Libertarian Party’s pledge to scrap personal income tax is the first policy to emerge from the new party’s discussions, and will form part of a radical manifesto to be released later in the year.

  Notes for editors 

1)      The Libertarian Party was founded on 21 November 2007 and officially launched on 1 January 2008. The party has concentrated solely on the UK political blogosphere and its own discussion forums thus far: this is the party’s first foray into the wider world. The website is at:

2)      Libertarianism is a political philosophy based on support for individual liberty.


3)      Libertarianism is a broad church, but the UK Libertarian Party is broadly minarchist in outlook.

4)      Government spending figures can be found here:

5)      Income Tax was first introduced in 1798, by William Pitt the Younger, in order to buy weapons and materiel to fight the Napoleonic Wars, and ranged from less than 1% to a maximum of 10% over the set thresholds. The tax was abolished in 1802 by Henry Addington, then reintroduced in 1803; it was again abolished in 1816, then reintroduced by Sir Robert Peel in 1841. Wikipedia:

6)      The QUANGO database:

7)      The Essential Guide to British QUANGOs 2005:

 ++ ENDS ++ 

Issued by Chris Mounsey, Director of Communications, on behalf of the UK Libertarian Party. Enquiries to Chris Mounsey:


  1. Good effort folks.
    Seeing as the Income Tax act is only a temporary act ( ), what are the odds of enough MPs banding together long enough to delay the passing of the act each year and prevent its becoming law each year?
    In many eyes, the government’s main duty is for the safety of its citizens and the promotion of trade amongst them and other nations.
    Taxing trade facilitated by the government makes sense, but taxing the individual for their labour is quite immoral.
    Simply raising VAT on select goods and taxes on interest would also cover any loss by abolishing the income tax act.
    Shops and banks would be MUCH more efficient collectors of taxes than falsified income tax returns and shady accountants.

  2. It’s worth remembering that the £175bn Quango figure includes the NHS, which is a Quango these days. Also, I believe, higher education.

  3. Income is the result of selling your wares, individually or via employment in business and industry. The buyers of your wares are ultimately other individuals, namely consumers. Thus, your income must necessarily be a cost to a consumer, without whom you would not receive an income. From your gross income is taken income tax, but that plainly corresponds to a transfer of money from consumer to government via “taxed” workers who act as unwitting tax conduits to HM Revenue.

    Working “taxpayers” suffer a delusion that PAYE is a tax taken directly from them, reducing their gross pay, but that gross amount is a misleading, unattainable figure that, usefully for politicians, makes us feel better about our worth. It hides the fact that income tax is an insidious and devious form of sales tax added to the real value of our work, pay for which we are satisfied to take home. For example, a 20% income tax corresponds to a 25% sales tax on the real price that we sell our working time.

    If we correctly perceived income tax as a sales tax on work there would be no possibility of thinking that it was paid by the employee, but the opportunities for political manipulation of ignorance are too powerful to resist.

    Then, when we spend our pay we may be surprised to know the true cost of taxation, which, since it accounts all in for about 40% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), means that on average 40% of the retail price of any item is tax, i.e. £4 out of every £10 spent – a sobering thought.

    It is also a tax that is paid by every man, woman and child consumer irrespective of income. So much for the progressive taxation theory of income tax.

    It might be thought that some of that tax could be better spent by ourselves. Meanwhile, awaiting tax cuts, tax may be saved by spending less!

    Thus, we misunderstand income tax, and all other taxes that are imposed on employees and businesses, including their council taxes. We do not realise that all costs, including taxation, of the supply chain, must be met ultimately by consumers, otherwise the goods and services that we desire could not be delivered.

    Unfortunately, it is doubly troubling for the retired, as additional imposed taxes cannot be offset by demanding some compensating pay as those employed can gain in the long run.

    Our misconception of taxation has serious implications for democracy. It distorts any useful debate. How useful it is to persuade the poor that a vote for taxing the rich will solve all their problems. As well for voters, our convoluted and deceitful tax system hides the true cost of government so that the scale of this horrific burden is hardly understood even by our elected representatives.

  4. Congratulations to UK libertarians on founding a Libertarian Party!

    And good detail on the press release. I would urge you to consider a couple things, however.

    One, please get rid of the photo of Ronald Reagan on this site, and don’t hold him up as a libertarian icon! While Reagan had some libertarian rhetoric, his actions were much more conservative than libertarian. The federal government in the United States was significantly larger, and more in debt, when he left office than when he entered it. He was particularly bad on civil liberties — greatly expanded the War on Drugs, his attorney general Ed Meese engaged in a crackdown on pornography, etc. Much more could be written about the dark side of Reagan’s record.

    Two, while I applaud your call to end the UK’s income tax, I regret to see that you call for replacing it with a sales tax. Better not to do the opposition’s dirty work for them! Yes, some taxes are worse than others, but if you get into the game of defending any taxes, it undercuts the moral argument against coercive taxation, that money rightfully belongs to the people who earn it and should not be taken from them without their individual consent.

    Finally, I would encourage you to approach other Libertarian parties around the world with the goal of holding an annual gathering of representatives of these parties, to compare notes, issue resolutions, assist and inspire each other, etc. I am a longtime activist in the U.S. Libertarian Party and have from time to time raised this idea with LP leaders in this country unsuccessfully. But the U.S. (sadly including our LP) tends to be rather insular. Perhaps LP leaders of another country are more likely to take up this worthwhile project. Ours is a global movement for the freedom of all people, and I don’t think we do enough to emphasize this.

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