Taxation is one of the most controversial issues of public policy in the United Kingdom. The tax philosophies of the two major political parties differ markedly, and each party makes adjustments in the tax system when it is in power; as a result, the tax structure has changed frequently in the post-war period. It is widely held that the tax system distorts economic behaviour, though the degree of distortion is hard to quantify. How Britain deals with its tax problem may have a significant effect on its future economic performance and on the stability of its social and political system.