David Peach’s observation, on the unfairness of a system in which non-payers get to increase the bills of payers, opens a veritable Pandora’s Box. 

In the wake of the 2007 financial crisis, the phrase “moral hazard” began to be bandied around to describe the situation in which one group of people (in that case banks) got to act freely, knowing that the cost of failure would be borne by another group (in that case, taxpayers).

In Britain, around half of families now take more out of the system than they will ever put back in – the taxes they pay do not make a net contribution. 

And yet, to listen to the increasingly Marxist left, it is the rich that are doing the taking. 

According to the website Fullfact, at £6.7bn, the total tax avoided and evaded by rich individuals and corporations is not much more than the £6bn avoided by the so called Facebook economy and the likes of builders working for cash. 

As for the rich…well those whose incomes fall into the 97th and 98th percentile already face marginal tax rates of 62 per cent because of the withdrawal of the personal allowance, and from this February that will increase to over 100 per cent for those who have children under 4 (because of the withdrawal of entitlement to child care vouchers and 15 hours of free childcare). 

At the same time we have a succession of governments obsessed with “lifting people out of tax”. Why? Why shouldn’t people make some contribution to their own bills? And this harks right back to David’s point. 

Is it moral to allow a group of people whose bills are paid by the efforts of others, to have the right to demand that those others should pay more, which, under Corbyn’s increasingly militant Labour, is exactly what’s happening? 

How we ended up in this situation – and let’s be clear that it is emphatically not the fault of individuals - is largely irrelevant.

If you wanted to look for reasons you might start with the house price bubble, buy to let or the subsidisation private landlords and private business with housing benefit and tax credits (what was it again – for the many not the few?). 

But since David opened the box, one must ask whether moral hazard demands that “no taxation without representation” is also true in reverse.

James Young
St Annes Road