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Tax is not very interesting, right? Wrong. Yesterday we were delighted to host Ben Gummer at one of our Drink Tanks. We knew that as one of the new generation of Conservative MPs who is moving Conservative thinking forward, he would draw a decent crowd – which he did. We were less sure whether telling everyone that Ben would talk about tax transparency would increase of decrease attendance!

At the beginning of his talk Ben promised us that tax transparency was interesting and he was right. Most of us pay tax, but we don’t really know where the money goes. We have a rough idea that it is spent on schools, hospitals, the police and welfare but are unsure as to what proportion goes where. For example, 63% of people over estimate the amount the UK plans to spend on international aid.  (The amount is £10b per year (1.4% of Government spending).

Ben wants tax to be simple. “I’d like to see a merging of NI and income tax, as this will make it easier for people to grasp what they are paying.” He also wantsthe Government to tell people where their money goes. Thanks to his campaigning 24 million people will be sent a breakdown of where their contribution is spent.

For Ben this will help to reconnect people with how we are governed. “Transparency will make people more interested in politics, and more involved in what the state does… Because people will know where their money goes they will have a more direct relationship with the State.” The State will less likely be seen to be something foreign, which is over there doing its thing to us. We will be shown what role we have in it and have a better idea about what the priorities of the Government are. As the tax transparency graph becomes the norm political parties may need to put pie charts into their manifesto, showing what their proposals means in terms of where our money goes.

Ben is part of a group of MPs who are trying to transfer what they see in everyday life into politics. People expect more and more information to be available to them. Itemised billing is something that happens in many different areas, whether it be your phone or shopping bill. The private sector has shown it can be done and there is no good reason why the Government shouldn’t follow.

At the last elections the Conservatives tried to co-opt the slogan ‘Power to the People’.  Making Government more open and transparent is one of the best ways to show people how we are governed.

Nick Denys is Head of Digital at Bright Blue. His Twitter handle is @betapolitics.