It sometimes feels like we’re living in a vacuum of political leadership. Crises batter the UK from all sides, from our struggling NHS to crumbling schools, unsafe housing to local councils going bankrupt.
Neither of the main parties have set out credible plans to tackle these challenges.
This week Labour continued to say they “won’t turn on spending taps” if they win the next election.
While Chancellor Jeremy Hunt took to The Times, floating more tax cuts in the new year. Tax cuts now will lead to more spending cuts from public services later.
If nothing changes both parties are racing towards a new era of austerity post-election. We can’t let this happen.
A looming funding crisis
Our NHS and public services are already on their knees. Yet a recent report showed that because of an ageing population, by 2030 they will need an extra £142 billion a year, just to keep running as they do now.
That’s a huge amount of extra money. But both parties aren’t properly engaging with this fact – they are focused on the upcoming election.
Our work shows that much of the extra money needed to fund our health and other services can come from taxes on the very wealthy and through closing unfair tax loopholes.
And we’re not alone in this view. Big voices in the media increasingly agree. This week veteran journalist Andrew Marr said Labour should look at wealth taxes.
Taxing wealth more
The wealth of the UK grows every year. And taxes on wealth do already exist, but they don’t work very well.
Research from the Resolution Foundation this week showed how household wealth has grown consistently from the 1960s, and spiked in the last five years.
Wealth taxes throughout this period have remained at around 3% of GDP, however.
If we want a decent NHS and public services in the future, the rate we tax wealth at must increase. £50 billion a year could be raised from a range of wealth taxes, which we set out back in March.
Becoming a billionaire
Wealth taxes can also tackle inequality. A fascinating new report shows that most new billionaires this year got their money from inheritance, rather than earning it themselves.
If we want to reduce the ballooning wealth – and power – of a tiny elite of people, we need to tax their wealth more.
This would help to give us the extra revenue we need to future proof our NHS and public services.
As I see it, the options facing the UK are to either: tax wealth more, or witness the welfare state being dismantled further.
With your support, we’re going to keep fighting for a better future. We believe in a fairer, more equal country that works for everyone.
That starts with ensuring our public services urgently receive the extra funding they need – and we know that money can come from taxing wealth more.
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