Fair tax for social care
The pandemic has forced a rethink about our public services.
So I was pleased to hear a sense of urgency from the government about the need to tackle the social care crisis. This is an issue many politicians have ducked away from.
There was a crisis of care before covid. This affects all of us. Social care is something any of us might need at any point in life.
Newspaper leaks suggest that the Prime Minister is looking to increase National Insurance to pay for more money for the NHS and social care.
This move would be deeply unfair. Increasing National Insurance would hit younger people and lower earners. Pensioners and people earning income from their wealth don’t pay National Insurance.
It's no wonder that a poll by YouGov found a striking generational split in terms of support for the National Insurance hike. Younger people were far less likely to back the plan. The announcement is now on hold until after the summer holidays.
At Tax Justice UK we see this as an opportunity.
The government should be asking the wealthy to pay more in tax to support our care system. This is especially true as the richest people in the UK have seen their wealth balloon during the pandemic.
There are a range of tax reforms the government could bring in to fund social care. Ending tax loopholes, a one off wealth tax or aligning capital gains tax with income tax would all raise billions of pounds.
The government has a choice. It can increase taxes on hardworking families and the young. Alternatively it can use this as an opportunity to ensure the wealthy are taxed properly.
Our friends at the Women's Budget Group have put forward some concrete ideas for how to make sure we build the social care system that we all deserve.
The world's biggest economies have backed a global minimum corporation tax. G20 finance ministers from countries like China, Brazil, the US and the UK signed up to the deal.
This builds on the agreement reached at the G7 summit in Cornwall in June. It's difficult to overstate just how important this is.
Campaigners around the world have pushed to fix the current system for decades. At the moment some of the biggest companies in the world get away with paying ultra-low rates of tax. The deal would start to fix this problem.
However, the deal doesn't do much for lower income countries. It's notable that countries like India and Argentina are critical of it. Campaigners are angry that most of the extra money will go to the richest countries.
The agreement came last week, during the same week that the UK government voted to reduce the amount of foreign it gives. The middle of a global health and economic crisis is not the time to be cutting lower income countries off.
It's unfair that politicians are cutting aid with one hand while barring lower income countries from their fair share of tax with the other. It should be in our own interests to help poorer countries fight the pandemic. It's also the right thing to do.