Photographer: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images

U.K. Lawyers and Accountants Fund Most of Cost of Police With Taxes

  • Sector contributes 15.5 billion pounds to government budgets
  • Salaries in professional services double U.K. average

Britain’s legal and accounting services industry paid almost enough tax last year to fund all of the country’s spending on police.

The sector’s 693,000 employees contributed 15.5 billion pounds ($20.5 billion) to the public purse, 2.5 percent of all tax collected. That’s close to covering the 16.6 billion-pound police budget, according to a report released Thursday by PwC for trade body TheCityUK.

London is one of the main drivers of U.K. growth, and finds itself under pressure as the government works to leave the European Union. Many banks, law firms and accountants are searching for locations outside the U.K. capital that will allow them to remain central to the region’s economy. The City of London said the financial services sector paid about 65 billion pounds in the 2012-13 tax year, which accounted for almost 12 percent of all government tax receipts.

“The U.K. is the leading global hub for legal and accounting expertise and it is vital that we not only preserve that, but we continue to grow it,” Miles Celic, head of TheCityUK, said in the statement. Cities outside of London such as Manchester, Bristol and Edinburgh are "the areas we expect to see the most growth in the coming years as we move through Brexit and beyond.”

According to the PwC report, law and accountancy firms paid 37 percent of U.K. revenue in taxes. The average employee studied paid a tax rate of 54 percent.

The average wage of participants in the study was 61,176 pounds, more than twice the U.K. average of 28,000 pounds. The tax contribution per employee in the industry was 22,463 pounds.

Brexit negotiations will be important to the industry, as 23.3 percent of the EU’s lawyers and accountants are based in the U.K. Germany comes second with 21 percent of EU employees, with France a distant third with 10 percent of workers.

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