Five years ago we asked politicians, academics, campaigners and journalists what was the biggest thing that needed fixing with the UK’s tax system.
Almost without fail they responded that the UK doesn't tax wealth enough. They complained that the issue wasn’t even discussed outside expert circles.
At the time there was almost no debate in the media or in politics about taxing wealth more.
In five years things have changed dramatically – and we helped do that.
We’ve moved the dial
Celebrities now go on TV and radio to promote paying more tax, while politicians and journalists openly discuss wealth taxation.
Last week for example, filmmaker Richard Curtis told BBC R4’s PM programme that he, as a wealthy person, was in favour of paying more tax to fund the NHS and public services.
While the presenter of the BBC’s flagship political show Politics Live, Jo Coburn, said wealth taxes were “raised all the time” on the show.
A week of wealth tax calls
And Jo Coburn was right: wealth taxes were called for on Politics Live no less than three times last week.
On Monday Christina McAnea of the union UNISON made the case for taxing wealth more to fund our public services.
Then on Tuesday, Caroline Lucas MP asked “why don’t we have a debate on a wealth tax?”
On Wednesday it was Paul Nowak from the TUC’s turn to make the case that the super rich should pay more tax. He set out his thoughts in a piece in the New Statesman co-authored with Patriotic Millionaire Julian Richer.
On the same episode of Politics Live, presenter Jo Coburn pushed Labour shadow health secretary, Wes Streeting, asking: “is Labour really going to look at wealth taxes to pay for further investment in health?”
This sort of debate would be unimaginable just a few years ago. And we’ve made that happen.
Our research and appearances on TV and radio have moved the dial on wealth taxes – making them acceptable for politicians to countenance, and journalists to discuss with seriousness.
Tax can help us build a fairer future
We’ve come a long way in five years. But there’s still a lot to do, and we need to keep up the pressure.
Our public services are at breaking point – the NHS is struggling to keep up with demand and needs serious investment to meet the needs of the future.
While inequality grows every year, most people are becoming poorer through the cost of living crisis – while the rich sit back and watch their wealth balloon.
At the same time we face a climate emergency – which will disproportionately affect the world’s poorest.
All three of these challenges must be addressed through serious investment.
If we are to be a fair and just country, that money must come from those with the broadest shoulders. It must come from taxes on the super rich.
We’ve made huge strides over the last five years, making wealth taxes a possibility, openly discussed by politicians and journalists.
We’re going to keep pushing, fuelling the media debate and convincing politicians to get behind wealth taxes.
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