As the current cost-of-living crisis pushes more poor UK households below the poverty line, UK billionaires increased their combined fortunes by £597bn since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Recognising this, a group of incredibly wealthy UK signatories has put forward a letter calling on the government to “look to them”, adding that “repairing our country is more valuable than growing our wealth.”
Petitioning the government to introduce a new wealth tax, the group’s open letter asks that the recovery from the pandemic isn’t paid for by the keyworkers that kept the country going throughout it – but rather by the country’s wealthiest individuals.
Saying that they want to “ensure that we’re building a more just and green society”, the group states that it is “proud to pay [sic] taxes to reduce inequality, support stronger social care and the NHS”.
Research from the University of Greenwich has shown that a wealth tax on the top 1% of households could raise at least £70bn a year – equivalent to around 8% of the current total tax take.
The group, who all come from different backgrounds, want Mr Sunak to “address the economic imbalance of the current tax system which places a deeply unequal burden on working people”.
Asserting that the planned national insurance increases will “hit working people hardest”, they insist that taxes on the wealthiest should be levied instead to help the UK build itself back up as a fairer society.
They want to “invest in repairing and improving our shared services” – saying that ongoing tax avoidance of the global elite exemplified in the Pandora Papers, as well as the planned National Insurance hike of 1.5% for the lowest-paid “demonstrate again how powerful and rich people benefit from a two-tiered tax system”.
The letter says, “The cost of recovery cannot fall on the young or on those with lower incomes. There are many of us – people with wealth – who will support a more progressive system of taxation, and we urge you to do the same.
Calling on the government to make any policy that involves wealth tax a priority, they state they are open to a review of property tax, the introduction of a net wealth tax, and the equalisation of capital gains with income tax.
The practise of taxing wealth is already common in other parts of the world, however both the Prime Minister and Chancellor have rejected the suggestion.