With typically well-tuned political antennae, lobby group TheCityUK has reminded anyone considering reviving a City levy to fund legal aid that top firms already do their bit for the public purse. By judiciously adding up taxes borne (corporation tax, for example) and taxes collected (VAT on fees) the group calculates that law and accountancy firms contribute £19.1bn a year to the exchequer. The Gazette reckons this is enough to meet England and Wales’ legal aid bill 11 times over.
The ‘total tax contribution study’ also makes another useful point. It seems that, far from their popular image, top law firm partners are well down the pecking order when it comes to collecting the wealth created by the professional services sector. First in line is the government, taking 49.4% in the form of taxes borne or collected; next up are employees, with a 30.5% share. The poor (sic) partners collect just 20.1%.
With the likelihood of an autumn general election, you never know when these statistics may come in handy. In the meantime, half pints of Old Brewery bitter all round!