If the money printed by the government during covid was spread evenly among us all, then most people should be sitting on an extra £10,000 today.
If you’re not, then why not?
That’s the question asked by the economist and ex-City trader, Gary Stevenson. Take a look at this video he's produced that’s been doing the rounds on social media.
As Gary points out, people who were lucky enough to have wealth on the eve of the pandemic have done really well financially in the last two years.
This comes in a week in which the cost of living continues to increase, with prices rising at a rate of 5.5%.
So if you’re sitting on extra wealth, you’re likely to get by comfortably, despite rising food, energy and petrol prices.
However, if you’re a struggling family, higher energy bills are going to really hurt. As Gary says: “This cost of living crisis was predictable when the covid crisis started. The government needs to take action to do something about it.”
We’re working with our partners in the tax justice movement to campaign for a fairer tax system.
We need to close the loopholes used by the wealthy, clamp down on tax dodging and introduce windfall taxes on companies and people that have profited during the pandemic.
Do you have experience working with members of the public to get political change? At Tax Justice UK we’re looking for a new Senior Campaigns and Communications Officer. You can find more information here.
We are also still recruiting new board members. Are you interested in helping us to campaign for a fairer tax system? We’re particularly interested to hear from people with experience of public campaigning and people who have been on the front lines of delivering public services. Please share the details with anyone you think might be interested in joining us.
Last year the oil company BP made more money in two minutes than a middling British family makes in a year. The company made £9.5 billion profit in 2021, that’s £18,000 per minute.
At the same time, the latest figures show that BP paid no tax on its North Sea oil and gas business. Instead the UK treasury paid BP a subsidy of £35 million.
A system of generous tax breaks means that BP has paid no tax on its North Sea business. In fact, it’s effective tax rate is a whopping minus 54%.
The revelation came from climate campaign group Uplift. They’ve done great work uncovering the generous tax arrangements given to oil giants like BP.
Big oil companies are making bumper profits, and receiving subsidies from the government. Yet families are struggling to keep the lights on.
We’ve joined Uplift, and other campaigners, in calling for a windfall tax on the big oil companies. This would help fund proper support for families struggling with higher energy bills.
During the pandemic some companies and wealthy individuals have done very well financially. At the same time, many families have struggled.
Oxfam recently revealed that the world’s ten richest saw their wealth double over the last two years. Last year we found that six companies shared excess profits of £16 billion during the pandemic. We called for a Pandemic Profits tax to help pay for the recovery from covid.
Among those hardest hit by the cost of living squeeze are carers, the disabled and people who have lost their jobs.
A new plan, written by people with experience of the benefits and welfare system, sets out how to deal with entrenched poverty. The Commission on Social Security proposed a guaranteed decent income for all and a welfare system that has dignity at its heart.
These are ambitions we support.
Since the Pandora Papers revelations last October we have campaigned to force the government to clamp down on money launderers and tax avoiders.
The government has long promised to introduce an economic crime bill to deal with this and it looked like the measures were being quietly dropped.
A minister resigned partly in protest. However, finally it looks like we have won and forced a government U-turn!
Conservative MPs, including John Penrose, Kevin Holinrake and Tom Tugendhat ramped up the pressure. Labour and other opposition parties called out the government’s delay.
After sustained media and parliamentary pressure the government relented and the Prime Minister promised to introduce the economic crime bill this year.
This is a big win and it’s been a tag team effort working with allies in influential parliamentary groups and with our friends elsewhere in campaigns and the media.
However, we live in uncertain times. Boris Johnson could soon be gone from Downing Street and there is a danger that this upends the table as he leaves.
In reality, it wouldn’t put us back to square one.
This is because most of the MPs who want to succeed Johnson as prime minister are now tied in too. In parliament last week Foreign Secretary Liz Truss promised to implement the Economic Crime Bill. The Financial Times reports that both Rishi Sunak and Priti Patel want the law passed as soon as possible.
We are not there yet. But with the ongoing commitment of fellow campaigners and the will of committed Conservative and Labour MPs, there’s a good chance we will get what we want.
Image: ©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor