The NHS and other public services are facing existential crises.
It’s clear to any patient trying to get a GP’s appointment, stuck on a waiting list for years, or trying to find a dentist, that the system is not working as it should.
These services have been cut to the bone by austerity, underfunded for over a decade.
The quality of our NHS and public services is related to the level of tax we pay. So now is clearly not the time to be cutting taxes (as is being mooted by the Chancellor and the right-wing press). Even the International Monetary Fund agrees that tax cuts now are a bad idea.
For the life support our NHS and public services need, the government should pursue fair ways to raise tax revenues, not lower them.
Taxing very wealthy companies is one of the fairest ways we can do this.
It was disappointing to learn last week that Labour have ruled out any increases to corporation tax for five years, if they win the next election.
Corporation tax is currently 25%, the lowest in the G7. Meanwhile businesses benefit from numerous tax breaks and loopholes with very little government oversight, as I wrote about last week.
Just last year the Chancellor announced the biggest tax cut for large businesses in history - worth £50 billion over five years.
Plenty of companies have recorded soaring profits in recent years, while the rest of us continue to face unaffordable bills and a deteriorating social security net.
Tax is about political choices
Raising corporation tax, at least in line with comparable countries, is a sensible and fair way to raise more money for our public services.
Our executive director Robert Palmer wrote to The Times pointing this out, arguing it was out of touch for shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves to rule out raising it. The Mirror and The Guardian also picked up what I said.
Tax is about political choices. Who should pay for rescuing our sinking public services, for example? Big companies and their shareholders, or the rest of us?
There’s a risk that Rachel Reeves is backing a future Labour government into a corner. Ruling out various sensible and credible funding streams will make it harder to invest to save our crumbling schools and hospitals.
Whichever party wins the next election has a massive job on their hands to breathe life back into Britain and its public services, after 14 years of neglect and underfunding from Conservative governments.
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