Socialist Worker

Richest 0.01 percent dodge more tax as children fall into ‘stark’ poverty

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2539

The super rich spend their super wealth on super yachts

The super rich spend their super wealth on super yachts (Pic: Richard Lewis/flikr)


Britain’s super rich have dodged £1 billion more in tax since the Tories set up a new HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) unit in 2009 to make them pay more tax.

But the income tax paid by everyone else rose by £23 billion over the same period.

The wealth of the richest has soared alongside the growth of food banks and a big drop in working class living standards.

This grotesque fact of Tory Britain was revealed last week by a Westminster Public Accounts Committee report.

These “high net worth individuals”—around 6,200 fat cats with £20 million or more—represent less than 0.01 percent of Britain’s population.

Alarming

Yet the committee found it “alarming that HMRC has around one third of these individuals under enquiry at any one time.” Last year alone those investigations had a “value of around £1.9 billion extra tax revenue that might be due”.

The tax revelations came days before the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health released its landmark State of Child Health report.

It was a further indictment of Tory rule, “with those from the most deprived backgrounds experiencing much worse health compared with the most affluent.”

The report said, “Children living in our wealthiest areas have health outcomes that match the best in the world. But the gaps between the rich and the poor are stark, and some of the outcomes amongst our deprived groups are amongst the worst in the developed world.”

It said “stark inequalities” have widened in the last five years.

In a failed attempt to hide the impact of their brutal austerity on the poor, the Tories tried to drop household income as a measure of child poverty 18 months ago.

Since 2010 the number of children in absolute poverty has increased by half a million.

And as a direct result of Tory tax and benefit changes since 2010, the number of children in relative poverty will have risen from 2.3 to 3.6 million by 2020. This is before housing costs are factored in.

Poverty

Childcare and housing are two of the costs that take the biggest toll on families’ budgets. After childcare costs, a further 130,000 children are pushed into poverty.

Some 28 percent of children live in poverty. And the Tory lie that work is the solution to poverty is smashed by the fact that 68 percent of them have at least one parent in work.

So while the Tories have harassed the poor and disabled, and slashed public services, they have allowed the richest to dodge even more tax that could fund our services.

The fat cats should be made to pay for their own crisis.


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