BRITISH families pay almost three-quarters of a million pounds each in tax over the course of a lifetime, according to new research.

The £734,240 - in 2013/14 prices - totted up by the average household over 40 years in work and 15 years of retirement includes £253,040 of income tax, £146,775 in VAT, £92,795 in National Insurance contributions and £59,955 in council tax, as well as many other levies, said the TaxPayers' Alliance.

The total represented a 2.3 per cent increase on the £717,650 figure for 2012/13, said the group, which campaigns for lower taxes.

But while the poorest families saw their lifetime tax burden rise by 4.1 per cent to £282,545 in 2013/14, the richest 20 per cent of households enjoyed a 2.2% fall compared with the previous year, to £1,488,275.

The TPA said the figures, compiled from Office for National Statistics data, showed how the burden of taxation was pushing up the cost of living for families across the country.

The average tax paid by a household over a lifetime equated to 19 years' worth of income. But people in the poorest fifth of households - with an average income of £12,916 - would have to work 22 years to pay off their lifetime tax bill, compared with just 18 years for those in the wealthiest fifth, who have an average income of £83,750.

TPA chief executive Jonathan Isaby said: "This new analysis shows just how heavy the burden of taxation falls on each and every family across Britain, pushing up the cost of living.

"Every arm of local and central government must redouble its efforts to root out unnecessary spending and inefficiency in everything they do, so that not a penny of this extraordinary bill is wasted. Britain's tax bill is too high - it must come down, and that means cutting out wasteful spending."