Is going up in the world good for Hackney?

Tomorrow’s big taxpayers? A Shoreditch jobs fair
Future big taxpayers? A Shoreditch jobs fair

OFTEN CALLED “one of the country’s most deprived boroughs”, Hackney returns a surprisingly large amount of tax.

The borough’s population of almost 300,000 gives more than half a billion pounds a year to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who then doles it out to ministries and departments, including several that will return some of the millions to Hackney as local-government grants and other subsidies.

The average amount of income tax paid by locals is £5,370, compared with the average of £4,398 paid nationally.

The figure has, of course, been rising, despite governments’ keeping the basic rate at 25%. In 2006-2007, payments from the borough totalled £461 million (£534 million in 2006-2007). The average amount paid by locals was £4,680 and the national average £4,333. Sited on 19 sq km, Hackney is one of the capital’s smallest boroughs and has one of the highest population densities, 130 people a hectare.

St George’s Hill polemicist Kevin Brownlow
St George’s Hill polemicist Kevin Brownlow at the NFT in 2011

This information was gained exclusively by Loving Dalston from UHY Hacker Young after the accountants made national headlines with a UK tax analysis.

The firm revealed that residents of  the borough of Elmbridge in southeast England pay the most income tax in the UK, an average of £16,100 a year, £11,702 higher than the UK average. The numericists became uncharacteristically excited about their findings, lapsing into tabloidese as they trilled that the “leafy enclaves grouped under the borough of Elmbridge are home to many Russian oligarchs, top celebrity entertainers and Chelsea Football Club players, who train at nearby Cobham”.

What a wretched paradox, incidentally, that the borough includes St George’s Hill in Surrey, where a citizen called Gerrard Winstanley in the 1640s devised a proto-socialism, which the landowning upper class quickly destroyed — a story told in Kevin Brownlow’s luminous 1976 black-and-white feature film Winstanley.

Hamish Scott

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