Benefit system puts 60,000 on 90 per cent tax

Figures in last week’s pre-Budget report reveal 60,000 low-income families now face paying 90 per cent of any earnings directly to the taxman.

The number of affected families is up from 30,000 last year and is forecast to rise again to 70,000 next year.

The very high tax rates arise from complex rules that mean low income families have their benefits slashed if they take up work.

These so-called marginal tax rates – far higher than those faced by top earners – are blamed for discouraging thousands from seeking work.