The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

Before Parliament (1943-1979)

Mr Major’s Letter to Press – 13 July 1978

The text of Mr Major’s letter to the press on 13th July 1978.


Sir, – I am sorry that the Liberal prospective parliamentary candidate does not understand the tax burden in the UK or my recent speech concerning it.

Statistics can, of course, be used to prove or disprove almost any contention, but some facts are indisputable. Amongst these is the fact that public expenditure takes approximately 60% of the national income and finances itself from taxation. (The present government claim public expenditure is only 48% by pretending that the interest they pay on the national domestic debt isn’t spending, but this is self-evidently bogus).

Moreover, it should not be assumed that taxation begins and ends with income tax. The government also collect taxes under the guise of national insurance, import and excise duties, value added tax, corporation tax and other company taxes. All these taxes reflect in prices paid and consequently represent additional taxes on everyone – not simply those in high incomes. My speech, and my statistics, referred to the total of these taxes and this should have been clear from the Hunts Post report.

The Liberal prospective candidate may also be interested to learn that during the last four years of Socialist government, the number of tax collectors has soared by 20,000 whereas employment everywhere, not least in Huntingdonshire, has fallen. It is a curiosity of history that Mr Callaghan may be a former chief petty officer but his administration now employs more tax men in the Inland Revenue than sailors in the Navy! Moreover, the total cost of employing these extra tax collectors would build three primary schools in every parliamentary consistency in the UK.

I am not sure of the Liberal candidate’s personal priorities, but I would rather have had the extra schools in Huntingdonshire – or a cut in taxation! Perhaps the Liberal candidate will advise his parliamentary colleagues of this alternative when next they consider whether to support a Socialist administration in office.

John Major

Conservative prospective candidate for Huntingdonshire
The Views, Huntingdonshire