In recent months rumours swirled that Jeremy Hunt would use the Autumn Statement to abolish or at least cut inheritance tax. And we were listening.
Inheritance Tax is not an ideal tax, and it’s unpopular with some, but it’s the only real tax on accumulated wealth we have. Only the top 5% of estates pay it.
Abolishing it would fuel rampant inequality in the UK.
For this reason we support a reformed inheritance tax – you can read more about why here.
We’ve been all over the media in recent weeks pushing back.
Our Head of Advocacy and Policy, Rachael, made the case for keeping inheritance tax on GB News last week.
The super rich should be paying more tax, not less, Rachael argued on Times Radio on Monday.
The same day she was also on The Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2 making the case that the public are desperate for better public services – and taxing wealth more can help us get there.
We teamed up with the Trades Union Congress and had a full-page splash in The Mirror, demanding the Chancellor prioritise public services over inheritance tax cuts.
And our polling that found only 1 in 4 supported tax cuts over public investment was featured in The Guardian.
We fought and won
When Jeremy Hunt stood up in the House of Commons to read his statement yesterday, he didn’t mention inheritance tax once.
The government backed down. There is to be no change to inheritance tax.
They were forced to abandon their rumoured plan to help the already wealthy at the expense of everyone else - for now at least. We helped do that.
He reduced National Insurance
Instead Hunt set out plans to reduce National Insurance contributions for employees.
The plan will see National Insurance contributions for many working people reduced from 12% to 10% – a saving of about £450 a year for the average person. It will affect around 27 million people.
The cut to National Insurance was by far the most eye catching announcement in the Statement. And it may help the Conservatives prospects at the next election.
He ignored the crises battering the UK
But let’s be honest, this small injection of cash into peoples’ pockets won't change the multiple crises facing the UK.
Hospital waiting lists are surging and staff are absolutely burnt out – while our schools literally fall apart.
A crisis in housing sees millions residing in unlivable conditions – while local councils struggle to provide even basic services, and some face bankruptcy.
The tax cut announced yesterday may even aggravate the situation. As I tweeted, the £20bn giveaway will effectively be "paid for" by £20bn of spending cuts planned for after the election. These cuts will be almost impossible to deliver, setting a trap for whoever forms the next government.
The UK isn’t working for most ordinary people, and the Chancellor had no plan to address this – the planned spending cuts will only make things worse.
How to fix our country
To properly tackle the challenges everyone in the UK faces, the government needs to invest more in the NHS and all the different public services we rely on – from schools to transport; our police and emergency services.
We don’t want taxes on working people to go up. The money can come from those who are not already shouldering their fair share of the burden: the super rich.
If we taxed the income of the super rich at the same rate as work – and if we taxed them 1% a year on their accumulated assets, we could raise £50 billion a year.
We could also raise an extra £7 billion a year by closing just a handful of unfair tax loopholes.
This could be the boost to bring new life into our creaking NHS and public services.
The wealth is here in the UK right now to fix these problems. All we need is a government disciplined enough to go out and tax it.
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