A group of 30 British millionaires have called on the Chancellor to tax them more and the rest of the rich because they can afford to pay it and “the cost of recovery cannot fall on young people or low-income people”.
In a open letter As the budget approached on Wednesday, millionaires called on Rishi Sunak to introduce a wealth tax on the nation’s richest people to help fund the recovery from the coronavirus crisis and tackle the yawning divide in inequality.
âWe understand the immense pressure on the Treasury to deal with present and future crises – from inequalities to Covid to climate change. We know there will be great expectations for you to find the money you need, âthe millionaires said in the letter.
“We know where you can find this money – tax wealth holders like us. We can afford to contribute more and we want to invest in fixing and improving our shared services. We are proud to pay our taxes to reduce inequalities, supporting stronger social protection and a stronger NHS, and ensuring we build a fairer and greener society.
The millionaire signatories, who span multiple industries and origins across the UK, said they wanted Sunak “to address the economic imbalance in the current tax system which places a deeply unequal burden on workers.”
They said the planned 1.25 percentage point increase in national insurance contributions “would hit workers harder”, so taxes on the wealthiest in society should be increased instead. The group called on the government to give priority consideration to any policy taxing wealth, ranging from the equalization of capital gains with income tax, a revision of the property tax, to the introduction of a net wealth tax.
âThe cost of recovery cannot fall on young people or those with lower incomes. Many of us – the rich – support a more progressive tax system, and we urge you to do the same, âsaid the group, which is part of the Patriot millionaires movement, said in the letter. âWhen deciding how to close the financial gap, look at us. Repairing our country is more valuable than increasing our wealth.
They said the planned hike in national insurance and the global elite’s tax evasion tactics revealed in the Pandora Papers “once again demonstrate how powerful and wealthy people benefit from a two-tiered tax system. “.
As the cost of living crisis worsens and hits the UK’s poorest households, the combined fortunes of UK billionaires have risen 22% to Â£ 597 billion since the start of the coronavirus pandemic .
One of the signatories, Gary Stevenson, a former multi-millionaire City trader, said: Me – the rich people. We cannot expect a strong or stable recovery if the tax burden of it is placed on our social workers, street cleaners and teachers – key workers who deserve better – while we do not tax the rich. . “
Tech entrepreneur Gemma McGough, who also signed the letter, said it made economic sense to tax the wealthy more. “This letter is not a declaration of goodwill, it is an attempt to shake the chancellor by the fiscal shoulders and wake him up,” she said.
âIf we keep taxing workers and never tax where we make a lot of money, our country will continue to suffer. Anyone with an entrepreneurial mind will tell you that it makes good business sense to balance your books. Where is the balance when the wealth is stored by a small group of very rich people and the cost of the country falls on low and middle income people? “
A wealth tax on the richest 1% of UK households – those with wealth over Â£ 3.6million – could generate at least Â£ 70 billion a year, according to University of Greenwich research. This would be equivalent to 8% of the current total tax intake, but would only affect around 250,000 households.
Such taxes are starting to be introduced in Argentina, Bolivia and Morocco to help finance the recovery. In Norway, around 500,000 people pay a 0.85% charge on their assets above the value of around Â£ 125,000. The prospect of such a tax in the UK is the rich’s second biggest fear after the virus, according to the Knight Frank Wealth Report. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Sunak rejected this suggestion.