Rebalancing £2bn in child tax credits will help redress the worst effects of the VAT rise for the poorest and lifting the lowest-paid out of income tax will help all on the basic rate, but it does nothing for the 62% of adults who earn too little to pay tax.Sixty-two per cent of adults don't earn enough to pay tax? It doesn't sound very likely.
A little investigation suggests that Toynbee has been reading the Institute for Fiscal Studies Election Briefing Note 13 "Taxes and Benefits: The Parties' Plans". Turn to page 34 of this and you will find the sentence:
"In 2009–10, only 62% of the adult population had a high enough income to pay income tax."
So it's not that 62 per cent of people don't pay tax, it's that 62 per cent do pay tax.
How out of touch with the lives of ordinary people do you have to be to make a mistake like that and not spot it? It hardly encourages you to have faith in Toynbee's judgement as a columnist.
You think someone at the Guardian would have spotted it though.