Taking not giving

David Fiddimore (Letters, 10 October) says that he worries about the politicians. Well, given the content of his letter, I sometimes wonder about your correspondents.

In his anti-Tory defence of the size of the public sector, Mr Fiddimore declares that “more than 75 per cent of the income tax paid in Scotland is paid by those working in the… public sector”.

For starters, this simply confirms the untenable size of that sector. However, what has to be dispelled is the all-prevalent untruth that the public sector pays tax: it does not.

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The public sector and its workers receive tax from the taxes that are levied from those in the private sector.

Yes, an amount is deducted from the wages and salaries of public sector employees, but to call this “tax” is an accounting trompe-l’oeil – it is rather a rebate of the “real” tax that is paid to them (as a by-the-bye, one wonders how much could be saved from HMRC costs by simply paying individuals in the public sector a lower amount to avoid the necessity of adding money to salaries only to have to immediately deduct it).

This myth of the public sector contributing fiscally in a meaningful way to the national wellbeing must be debunked.

Of course, we do need the services provided by an efficiently functioning public sector but, unless we are to be a communist-style state, the only way that a public sector of any size can be sustained is by the tax revenue coming from the private sector.

David K Allan

The Square

Haddington, East Lothian