The 2021 population census out this week found that, as a nation, we are both having fewer kids and are starting to see shorter life expectancy.
Average male life expectancy in thirty years could be 82.2 years, down from 84.1 years on 2014 projections. While female life expectancy could fall too, to 85.3 from 86.9 years.
Similarly, the data showed the UK birth rate is also dropping. Couples are predicted to be having 1.56 births for every woman, down from a 1.89 estimate in 2014.
Fewer school-age children means fewer schools will be needed, the FT’s Chris Giles pointed out. We’d still need to find an extra £35 billion a year in tax, but the new census population predictions mean this sum is far less than expected.
A dropping birth rate and life expectancy obviously have implications far beyond the budget deficit, however.
The data raises important questions. For example, has 12 years of austerity pushed down life expectancy?
Research from the IPPR in 2019 estimated that austerity has led to 130,000 preventable deaths in the UK since 2012.
And is the falling birth rate a sign that younger people are putting off having children due to precarity and money problems? Research in 2021 suggested this might be the case.
Tax is about political choices. The new ONS figures might give us a glimpse of the effect of those choices.
If we want to live in a country where life chances for everyone improve over time, we need a tax system that reverses burgeoning wealth inequality – and funds the best possible public services.
People across the country are facing a worsening cost-of-living crisis, yet the profits of some of the UK’s biggest companies are surging.
Profits’ were up 34 per cent at the end of 2021 compared to pre pandemic levels for the UK’s largest non-financial companies.
Research by the IPPR and Common Wealth argues profit restraint is needed to curb inflation. They recommend a global windfall tax that could raise as much as £10 billion.
Our Pandemic Profits research last year argued in favour of a similar tax on excess profits made during the covid pandemic.
Why are some companies’ profits surging while an increasing number of people are facing a cost of living crisis? Research out this week from Unite argues the two might be linked.
The trade union has accused companies of driving inflation higher by engaging in “price gouging”. This is where businesses hike their prices far above supply costs – applying unnecessary financial pressure on consumers.
At a time when workers are being asked to curb their calls for pay rises, this research shows that the real problem may sit with companies profiteering from a crisis.
Today we're launching a new campaign – and we need your help.
Have you ever wondered how much your local council is paying to companies with links to tax havens?
Research by The Fair Tax Foundation found that £37.5bn of public contracts were won by companies with links to tax havens between 2014 – 19 alone.
And although the UK Government has closed many tax avoidance loopholes in recent years, an estimated £17bn of corporation tax receipts are still going astray as a result of profit-shifting alone. This is where multinational firms exploit gaps in tax rules to move profits to low or no-tax locations.
This must end.
We're demanding councils sign-up to a fair tax standard, so that no money goes to companies associated with tax havens.
Ask your council to stop buying services from tax dodging companies. It only takes 1 minute:
Local authorities can play a key role in addressing tax dodging companies. Some councils have already signed-up, but the vast majority have not.
HMRC admitted this week they have no idea how much revenue is being lost to overseas tax havens.
In a freedom of information (FOI) response, the tax authority said they didn’t know – and hadn't attempted to calculate – how much tax is being evaded by UK residents funnelling their wealth offshore.
At the same time new figures shine a light on the scale of the problem: £570bn is held by UK residents in financial accounts in tax havens.
Dereliction of duty
HRMC have all the data they need to investigate the legality of this £570bn of UK wealth sitting in tax havens, so why aren't they?
Alex Cobhan at Tax Justice Network called the situation “an outright dereliction of duty” by HMRC. Other tax experts suggested it highlights resourcing constraints at HMRC.
We need a properly funded UK tax authority with the teeth – and political will – to investigate tax evasion and enforce the law.