You might have received a letter from your council recently confirming plans to increase your council tax.
Nationally it is set to increase by £67 to an average of £1,966 from April. I spoke to the Daily Express and the Daily Mirror about the tax rise.
This is going to worsen the cost of living scandal faced by families right now.
An increase in council tax will hit poorer households much harder than wealthier ones. It's a political choice to be allowing council tax to rise while also putting up national insurance.
Our friends at the campaign group Fairer Share have built a neat interactive map where you can find out how council tax is changing in your area.
Rishi Sunak needs to rethink. He should also implement a windfall tax on oil and gas companies like BP, who are enjoying a massive windfall while people across the country struggle to pay their energy bills.
He should close the tax loopholes open to the rich and powerful.
In the US President Joe Biden is planning to try to tax the runaway wealth of America’s billionaires. Rishi Sunak should take inspiration from these moves.
The Guardian reported that the President will try to bring in a new law next year for a minimum tax on the unearned wealth of America’s ultra rich elite.
It will be interesting to see if the plan gets voted through. Biden’s previous attempts to legislate for higher taxes have met with opposition from some conservative Democrats who have already stymied his domestic agenda.
In the UK, the Labour Party are increasingly talking about the need to tax wealth more. The Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves has made it known that she wants to shift the focus of the tax system from income to assets.
Our research found that the public would back such a move.
The Chancellor gave a Budget for an election due in two years, while families wonder what they'll eat in two days
Since the new year one issue has dominated people’s lives: the rising cost of food and heating. From next month, people will also be facing higher council tax and national insurance.
This week the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, set out his response to the growing cost of living scandal.
Sunak’s announcements mostly consisted of tax cuts for middle earners. 5p off fuel duty. A higher threshold for when national insurance kicks in. A promised 1p off income tax in 2024. This will help some families, but it’s nowhere near enough.
“Is that it?” one MP bellowed towards the end of Sunak’s Spring Statement on Wednesday.
It’s hard to recall a time when the experts and the media were more united in criticising a chancellor’s performance
Rishi Sunak’s announcements will do little to stop the slide into poverty we are about to see. The official figures suggest that people are about to experience the biggest fall in living standards on record. Rising bills for energy, food and petrol will wipe out much of the tax cuts announced.
Decisions about tax and spending are political choices.
Despite calls for a windfall tax on companies like BP, who’ve enjoyed huge profits, Rishi Sunak sat on his hands. He failed to provide more support to those on the lowest incomes. The chancellor has done little to close the tax loopholes used by the wealthy.
It’s important to see all of this in the broader context. Millions of people face financial insecurity after being denied a real pay rise for decades. In the wake of the budget our friends at CLASS and Autonomy launched a new tool so you can assess where you and your family sit in terms of financial insecurity. Do take a look.
Politics is about choices, and the Chancellor made the wrong choices this week. He prioritised tax cuts on middle earners, while ignoring many struggling families.
Rishi Sunak must take action
Imagine being unable to afford the small things in life - a regular trip to the swimming pool with a toddler, spare cash to buy a grandchild a birthday present, or the cost of a family camping holiday.
These are the basics that people feel everyone should be able to afford.
But a new report by the New Economics Foundation finds that 23 million people can't afford even these basic items. That's a third of people in this country.
That’s millions of dads unable to take their kids for a swim. A swathe of grandmas feeling guilty they can’t afford a little gift for their grandchildren. Young people are paying the equivalent of a second mortgage on commuting costs.
It’s hard to overstate how shocking this is. But this scandal has been a long time in the making.
On top of increasing energy costs due to rocketing oil and gas prices, taxes are due to rise on most people with higher National Insurance and council tax coming in.
Next week Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, will give his spring update on how the economy is doing. He is under pressure to do something about this crisis. However, at the moment it’s unclear whether Sunak will announce any support for struggling families.
The chancellor has to make some choices. Will he provide more support to help people pay their bills? Will he make the wealthiest people and companies who’ve done well financially during the pandemic pay more in tax?
The government should be imposing a windfall tax on energy giants making a killing. Rishi Sunak should also close the loopholes that mean the wealthiest can pay very low rates of tax.
Who is the pinstripe mafia?
The long time tax justice campaigner Prem Sikka has frequently pointed the finger at what he calls the “pinstripe mafia”. This is the army of professionals who enable the flow of dirty money through London. Accountants, lawyers, bankers and PR agents have helped corrupt officials, tax dodgers and other criminals.
In parliament this week the Conservative MP Bob Seely expressed his frustration at lawyers working for Russian clients to intimidate the media.
The war in Ukraine has yet again highlighted the role of London as the dirty money capital of the world. The government has scrambled to respond. On Monday, the Prime Minister introduced a long promised Economic Crime Bill. This includes many measures that we’ve campaigned for, including more transparency over offshore owners of UK property.
It’s been known for years that the UK has been a favourite destination for ill gotten gains. It’s taken an international crisis in Ukraine to make the government act. This will be a real step forward.
At Tax Justice UK we have been working alongside other campaigners to push the government to act. This could be the best chance in a generation to seal up the loopholes that allow London to be home to so much dirty money. The public clearly cares, with over 117,000 signing our petition for action.
New laws are good but we also need a change in culture. Professionals should think really hard about the role that they play as gatekeepers against bad behaviour. The government also needs to invest much more in enforcing existing laws. Our friends at Spotlight on Corruption have set out what this should look like.
Finally we also want to add a personal note of thought if you or your family have been affected by the conflict in Ukraine. Let's hope the coming days bring swift action to de-escalate, end the fighting and restore a free Ukraine.