With the government’s spring budget expected this week, Church Action for Tax Justice have delivered a call for new wealth tax to the chancellor. This would be a one-off tax on Britain’s richest 1%. It would raise funds from those most able to pay, while lowering taxes for the poorest and reducing inequality.
The call took the form of an open letter (see below), which has been signed by over 2,000 Christians, including former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who said: “Spiralling inequality is a major issue in our society, and all the evidence suggests that this is deeply damaging to our collective morale and trust. A wealth tax of the kind we are backing recognises that vastly disproportionate rewards for a very small number of citizens will not make for a cohesive and just national community.”
Re: The introduction of a wealth tax for the UK’s richest individuals
We are writing to draw your attention to the high, and deeply embedded, ‘wealth gap’ within the UK, and to urge the Government to introduce an initial one-off wealth tax on the country’s richest 1%, as proposed by Church Action for Tax Justice.
We also support calls for a review of the UK’s system of personal taxes, to take account of how different taxes relate to each other and to see how avoidance of any wealth tax can be prevented, so that an ongoing, progressive net wealth tax can be introduced in the near future. Wealth inequality in this country is high and the COVID pandemic has served only to increase this inequality.
In particular, the low paid and financially insecure are especially vulnerable (including those key workers who have kept this country going throughout the pandemic). Many find themselves caught in a perfect storm of reduced benefits, rising National Insurance Contributions, a cost-of-living crisis and often, uncertain job security. For some, it’s nothing short of a desperate time.
We believe that our elected leaders should be taking urgent action to protect the wellbeing of all – especially the most vulnerable. In a compassionate and caring society, it is important that those who can do so make a fair contribution to the common good; not least to help those who have lost out from the very circumstances that have boosted their own resources.