Overview

Why taxes?

One of Parliament's chief responsibilities is to authorise taxes to pay for nationally important items of expenditure

Taxes the 18th century way

Taxes in the 18th century consisted of a direct tax on land, and a wide assortment of duties on consumables and luxuries

War and the coming of income tax

Income tax was sanctioned by Parliament in 1799 to help meet the huge costs of war with Napoleon Bonaparte

Income tax abolished and reintroduced

Bowing to public pressure, Parliament abolished income tax in 1816, but reintroduced it 26 years later

New directions, new taxes

Early 20th century welfare reforms demanded that Parliament approve new and controversial forms of taxation

Taxation during the First World War

Parliament's measures in World War I increased the number of income tax payers almost threefold

The cost of war

The Second World War brought even greater numbers of British workers into the tax-paying fold

Post-war taxation

Not all new taxes have achieved public support and have led to heated debates in Parliament