Do we need to pay higher taxes in order for the government to provide basic services?

IELTS Writing Test Task 2 Essay

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task. Write about the following topic:

Some people believe we need to pay higher taxes in order for the government to provide basic services for the population. Others say that the government should find other means to finance these services.

What should the government do, in your opinion? Include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

Sample Answer

All populations require certain basic services such as education, health, and infrastructure. While higher taxation would certainly allow governments to spend more on public services, further taxation always proves to be a contentious issue with the public. However, the alternative sources of funding are somewhat limited. Therefore, higher taxation appears to be a reasonable solution to the problem.

The issue is quite simple; where should the money come from? However, this is also something of a non-issue because the only real source of income for the government is the taxes received from individuals and corporations. Clearly, the government can borrow funds, however, in general, currently most governments are trying to reduce their level of debt.

While increased taxation is never popular, there have been, for example, indications that a large proportion of the UK population is willing to pay more tax if the funds generated are spent specifically on health services. In other words, a service-specific tax. However, most people do not believe that simply giving the government more money to spend as it wishes will necessarily result in the improvement of public services which is sought.

One of the greatest problems with government spending, typically, is the high level of waste and inefficiency which accompanies it. While many people might be willing to pay more tax if there was an improvement in public services, it is clear that more efficient use of public funds could result in savings, which could, subsequently, be diverted to those public services which need improvement, without the need for further taxation.

A key factor which is often overlooked is the fact that, for example, in the UK, the population is continually growing and aging, so there is greater pressure on many public services, and it could be argued a greater need for financing of critical services. This is only to be expected. It is extremely difficult to provide the same level of service to a greater number of people with the same budget.

Overall, the government should tackle the problem on two fronts: firstly, prioritize services and seek savings through greater efficiency in certain non-essential services which can then be spent on public services under the greatest pressure. Secondly, create service-specific taxes to take into account the growing population and the growing demand for certain key services such as health and education.

Public sector financing is a complex issue. However, governments must respond to changing demographics, needs, and demand levels to ensure that populations receive the basic services they expect without unnecessarily high taxation across the board.