Socialist Worker

A wealth tax could generate billions but the Tories attack working people instead

by Sophie Squire
Issue No. 2735

Johnson has hinted that he will give tax cuts to big business

Johnson has hinted that he will give tax cuts to big business (Pic: Number 10)


Instead of attacking working class people and key services, vast amounts of money could be raised by taxing the rich.

A new report, published on Wednesday, shows just how much a mild measure could produce. 

The Wealth Tax Commission set the threshold for the tax at £1 million per household—assuming two individuals with £500,000 each.

The very low rate for the tax would be 1 percent per year on wealth above the threshold. But still “a one-off wealth tax would raise £260 billion over five years”.

It adds that the tax, “could not be avoided by emigrating or moving money offshore. In fact, if well designed, it would be very difficult to avoid the tax legally”.

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“A one-off wealth tax would work, raise significant revenue, and be fairer and more efficient than the alternatives,” said Andy Summer a professor at the London School of Economics which contributed to the report.

Calls for a wealth tax are popular. A YouGov poll found 61 percent of people approved of a wealth tax on those with assets over £750,000.

Dr Arun Advani, assistant professor at the University of Warwick, who helped produce the report said, “We’re often told that the only way to raise serious tax revenue is from income tax, national insurance contributions, or VAT. This simply isn’t the case, so it is a political choice where to get the money from, if and when there are tax rises.”

Economy

The Tories are making their political choice. They are pressing ahead with benefit cuts, public sector pay freezes and slashing the projected increase in the minimum wage.

And now Boris Johnson has even hinted that he will award tax cuts to businesses to revive the British economy. 

In a Facebook Q & A session, Johnson said, “We will consider the tax and regulatory environment and everything we can to encourage and support our business in this country.” 

Labour has offered very little opposition to any of this. 

In July the Labour party backtracked on supporting a wealth tax despite previously saying it would support one.  

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said that the party was “not calling for tax rises” and warned that if combined with public service cuts they would “damage demand and inhibit our recovery”

Labour’s refusal to back a wealth tax is another signal to big business and the rich that they would be a safe pair of hands in government.

Britain is a society where the richest 1,000 have £743 billion and massive sums can be raised from minor tax adjustments. There is no need for any measures that hit working class people.


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