It seems to be widely accepted that we should all be paying as little tax as we can get away with. We expect this attitude from big corporations - we know they're greedy and don't want to pay their way. But teachers?
At a recent conference attended by primary school headteachers, deputies and school business managers, a pensions adviser suggested we use loopholes to pay less tax.
It sounded tempting. But even when we have retired, that tax will pay the salaries of the teachers who educate our grandchildren, and will finance the modern facilities and school buildings we want for them. That's on top of paying for the healthcare we are likely to require for ourselves, as well as the armed forces who work so hard to keep the country secure.
If the government doesn't have enough money to keep essential services up to the standard we need, won't we have to pay for them out of our income anyway?
What is more efficient? Everyone who can afford to (such as headteachers, deputies and business managers on salaries of at least pound;35,000) paying into the system through taxation, or individuals having to pay private companies for health insurance, social care and education?
The adviser advocated that we squirrel away our modest nest eggs. They will probably stretch to a bit of travel and a few years of comfort. But what becomes of those who can't afford to pay?
I have seen my parents manage for 10 years on a very comfortable income from decent public service pensions. Now, however, ill health has set in and this income is simply not enough to pay for all the care they need.
If their generation is suffering, how much more will ours, with no final-salary schemes and the need to buy the right to retire before 67 or 68?
"Hurrah!" we will cry, as we enjoy the "freedom" to blow our lump sums on cars or holidays. But even with "tax planning", additional contributions and a paid-off mortgage, I'm certain that my family and I will need support from the state. However, with massive cuts to public services caused by everybody "tax planning", will that support still be available?
The writer is a teacher in south-east England
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