The Daily Mail has always had a strange vision of what constitutes a middle class wage and the recent election of David Cameron – with a lot of help from Nick Clegg – has brought this into sharper focus than ever. According to the Daily Mail it is ‘Middle England’ that will ‘bear brunt of new coalition’s drive to slash Britain’s deficit‘. Of course, the Daily Mail claims it is much more than even this: it is of course, aimed at ‘families’ as if single people or those without children never pay their way in the world.
The headline figure the Daily Mail uses is ‘£1200 tax shock for Middle England’, which if you scroll down to the inevitable table means that ‘Middle England’ to the Daily Mail is family with two children and a single earner earning £50,000 per year. Yet consulting what is actually the ‘average’ wage in the UK you get a figure of just £26,020. Whilst the ‘median’ gross annual earnings is even less at £20,801 – this is the salary point at which half of the country earns more than you and half less.
Put this into perspective: the Daily Mail table for ‘Middle England’ starts at £35,000. This salary would in reality put you comfortably into the top 25% of earners. The poor, taxed souls earning a salary of £50,000 per year are comfortably in the top 10% of salaried earners – just £8,917 more each year and they would creep into the top 5%.
So the real story here is that top 25% highest earners in the UK will pay more tax. Something that seems logical. Perhaps what the Mail should focus on is that the person earning £60,000 in their table appears to be paying a smaller increase in tax than the person earning £50,000. Whatever the real angle the Daily Mail should really try and get to grips with what a middle salary actually is and why in any fair society those that can actually afford to pay more tax, should.