Re: I've never understood...
One metric is that if you are paid so little that you require _any_ government assistance, then you'd qualify as poor. (I'm not counting things like subsidies, etc)
Working poor in the UK are a large fraction of the population and you can also argue that any employer whose staff need government topups is benefitting from an undeclared state subsidy,
There are a lot of people who consider themselves "middle class", who are in fact "working class", by economic metrics. Owning one's own house doesn't magically transform someone into the middling classes and its this group who are being hardest hit by tax hikes as they can't avoid them on one side and unlike the _real_ middle classes, ithere are few-to-no tax loopholes available to reduce the tax burden.
One thing the government _could_ (but won't) do is to streamline the entire tax system and remove most of the loopholes. A government's income is "tax take, minus the costs of collection" and New Zealand proved 30 years ago that if you do that, you can get rid of 1/3 of your revenue/customs staff, set lower tax rates and STILL end up with a higher _net_ take than previously. The interesting part is that even though the rich ended up paying a lot more tax, they were generally ok with it as the perception of punitive marginal rates went away and it was still less than notional tax liability before loopholes were taken into account.