Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Friday, 5 April 2013


I paid £17,166 in tax and NIC last year. I don't mind admitting this, as my salary is a matter of public record. It is deducted at source and I am glad to make my contribution to society in this way, although some of the payments that come from our taxes are easier to support than others.

Roughly a fifth of my tax, or £3500, goes on the NHS – quite content about that. I recognise that the system is under strain and we many have to pump more in future years, but not unless we see genuine reform. You cannot keep on propping up a 60 year old model.

About 1%, or £170, goes on overseas aid, and having seen abject poverty in many developing countries I am content with that. I would willingly pay more on this; although I appreciate I am in a minority. We do not have abject poverty in this country. We do not have children dying of readily preventable diseases.

I am content with the £850 a year I contribute towards our defence forces, in fact I consider this should be increased. The world is heading into perilous territory and we must not be caught napping again.

About a third of my taxes goes on the welfare budget, so in my case, just under £6000 pa. Here I start to get a bit twitchy. I am happy to contribute towards the pensions of retired people, and to support those who are genuinely in need.

I am not so keen to support those who could work but who choose instead to lean on the rest of us. I was interested to learn recently that 870,000 people who had been on incapacity benefit last year have decided not to re-claim rather than face the stiffer medical tests we are introducing. What inference can we draw from that?

Nor am I willing to pay to bring up other people's children when still too many parents turn their backs on their own responsibilities.
The Child Support Agency has made some inroads into this, but there is more to be done to change the prevailing culture. If you have a child, you are responsible to raise him or her.

I would rather pay less tax and let Jan decide how to spend my hard-earned money.  It will be quite a few years yet before any prudent chancellor can make that announcement. In the meantime, our reforms will continue.

posted by Gary @ 12:47