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A one-off wealth tax could “transform lives”

A group of leading tax experts and economists are calling on the government to launch a one-off wealth tax to raise money amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Wealth Tax Commission has said that taxing the richest in society is the most fair and efficient way to respond to the impact of the pandemic and that by taxing millionaires an extra 1% above a £1m threshold could raise £260bn over just five years.

“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,” said Arun Advani, assistant professor at the University of Warwick.

A 1% per year tax rate would be the equivalent of raising VAT by 6p or the basic rate of income tax by 9p.

Rebecca Gowland is the head of inequality campaigning at Oxfam. She commented: “At a time when so many people are facing hardship as a result of the pandemic, this feasible and deliverable one-off wealth tax could transform lives – an uncomfortable truth for vested interests that are likely to resist it.

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“The difference this revenue could make for the most vulnerable in society is staggering. Just a quarter of the extra money raised would be enough to keep and extend the social security weekly uplift and allow us to meet our lifesaving aid promise to the world’s poorest people.”

The UK government’s budget deficit is on track to hit almost £400bn this year.

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