Welcome to the world of tax and NI - there’s no escape now

wages. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
wages. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Well that’s it, summer’s over and the kids are back to school in uniforms that “they’ll grow into eventually” but would comfortably fit the Honey Monster right now.

What is it about the six-week summer break that makes children sprout like weeds?

Daughter #2 tried on her school blazer last week for the first time since mid-July and the sleeves were so far up her arms she looked like an Eighties pop star.

All she needed was a portable keyboard slung around her neck like a guitar and a skinny tie with piano keys on it and she could’ve played on Nik Kershaw’s 1985 European Tour.

Daughter #1 sits her GCSEs next summer and has grown at least a foot taller since school broke up. When she tried on last year’s uniform to see if it still fit she looked like she was about 25 and going to a school reunion disco but playing it for laughs.

That’s not the only thing that’s changed. Last week she got a letter from HM Revenue & Customs with her National Insurance number on it.

She asked me what it meant. So I told her. It means the state has got its claws into you and every penny you earn in your life, they want a cut of it. And not only that, you don’t pay it, they take it off you out of your wages.

You have no say on how that money is spent. They hold elections every five years but the difference in real terms between the political parties is so narrow you couldn’t fit a fag paper through it.

Oh, and you’ll pay tax on top of that as well, on everything you earn and everything you buy. Does that answer your question?

Judging by the look on her face, I think she’s going to be a libertarian when she grows up, either that or a multi-millionaire tax exile.

But the free market was brought into sharp focus in our house when the fatter of our two cats came second in a fight and needed a trip to the vet.

Unlike humans, there was no week-long wait for an appointment. Just £50 cash on the nail for a painkilling injection and a course of antibiotics. And now he’s right as rain.