2021 has been a hard year for many of us. The pandemic has dragged on and the cost of living is skyrocketing.
As the year draws to an end we've been reflecting on the positives. 2021 was the year when Tax Justice UK properly arrived. We’re a small team of four people, but we’ve had some real impact.
Back in June, we helped force the UK government to support a minimum tax rate for global companies. We worked with the media, politicians and our partners to ramp up the pressure. Although the final outcome wasn’t everything we'd hoped for, it is still a big step forward.
In September we hit the headlines by appearing on BBC Panorama about the Pandora Papers revelations. Journalists around the world revealed how the rich and powerful use offshore structures to slash their tax bills and hide what they’re up to.
In response more than 116,000 people signed our petition to close the tax loopholes. Last week politicians in Westminster were debating how to deal with the problem.
In other ways we feel that the media narrative on tax and wealth is starting to change in our favour. In October our Head of Advocacy, Tom, traveled to the Conservative Party Conference. At one event on tax, the first three questions were about taxing wealth more. That wouldn’t have happened even a year ago.
However, there are some clouds on the horizon too.
As we approach Christmas, it is troubling to know that families navigating the social care system still face misery. The 2.5% increase to national insurance announced over the summer in the government’s ‘health and social care levy’ will mostly go to the NHS, rather than social care.
To be frank, raising national insurance is a bad way of supporting social care. Especially as we’ve had a pandemic that saw the wealthiest become even richer.
The pandemic should be an opportunity to change direction away from the deep inequalities that mark our society but as the Guardian's Polly Toynbee pointed out the actions of the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, risk taking us in the wrong direction.
We want 2022 to be a year when those with the broadest shoulders pay a fairer share of tax. We will be keeping up the pressure to move us towards tax justice.