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UK lawyers, accountants fund most of cost of police with taxes

Saturday, August 5, 2017 - 10:23

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Britain's legal and accounting services industry paid almost enough tax last year to fund all of the country's spending on police.

[LONDON] Britain's legal and accounting services industry paid almost enough tax last year to fund all of the country's spending on police.

The sector's 693,000 employees contributed £15.5 billion (S$27.865 billion) to the public purse, 2.5 per cent of all tax collected.

That's close to covering the £16.6 billion police budget, according to a report released Thursday by PwC for trade body TheCityUK.

London is one of the main drivers of UK growth, and finds itself under pressure as the government works to leave the European Union.

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Many banks, law firms and accountants are searching for locations outside the UK capital that will allow them to remain central to the region's economy. The City of London said the financial services sector paid about £65 billion in the 2012-13 tax year, which accounted for almost 12 per cent of all government tax receipts.

"The UK is the leading global hub for legal and accounting expertise and it is vital that we not only preserve that, but we continue to grow it," Miles Celic, head of TheCityUK, said in the statement.

Cities outside of London such as Manchester, Bristol and Edinburgh are "the areas we expect to see the most growth in the coming years as we move through Brexit and beyond."

According to the PwC report, law and accountancy firms paid 37 per cent of UK revenue in taxes. The average employee studied paid a tax rate of 54 percent.

The average wage of participants in the study was £61,176, more than twice the UK average of £28,000. The tax contribution per employee in the industry was £22,463.

Brexit negotiations will be important to the industry, as 23.3 per cent of the EU's lawyers and accountants are based in the UK Germany comes second with 21 per cent of EU employees, with France a distant third with 10 per cent of workers.

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