'It's time for the super rich to pay their fair share' - Plaid Cymru

Inequality during cost-of-living crisis requires fundamental rethink of tax system - Ben Lake MP

Plaid Cymru have tabled an amendment to the Finance Bill which calls for gains made from investments to be taxed in line with income.

The amendment would require the UK Government to present proposals for a Tax Reform Commission, in consultation with the devolved governments, to examine fairer ways of raising taxes in the UK. The party’s Treasury spokesperson, Ben Lake MP, said that under the current system, “the super-rich play by different rules to the rest of us”, with the gains made from investments “taxed at a lower rate compared to income derived from hard work”.

The UK tax system does not include a tax on the stock of someone’s wealth, although assets and wealth may be taxed in certain circumstances: for example, the purchase of property may be subject to stamp duty land tax, the gains made by the sale of assets may be subject to capital gains tax, and the value of someone’s estate at the time of their death may be liable to inheritance tax.

The Prime Minister Rishi Sunak published a summary of his tax returns on 22 March which showed that in 2021/22 he made £1,970,992 through various means (ministerial salary, investment income, etc.) and paid various taxes that amounted to a total UK tax pay of £432,493. This means that Rishi Sunak paid an effective tax rate of 22% on his total earnings and gains. This is around the same as a nurse on the average £37,000 salary pays (21%).

An opinion poll by YouGov for Tax Justice UK in March found that 77 per cent of people polled in the UK said they would support a 1% annual wealth tax on people with more than £10 million in personal wealth; 74% said they would support a 2% annual tax on people with more than £10 million in personal wealth.

Plaid Cymru Treasury spokesperson, Ben Lake MP said:

“Under the current tax system, the super-rich play by different rules to the rest of us. Income is treated differently according to its source – with the gains made from investments taxed at a lower rate compared to income derived from hard work.

“In the UK, the financial wealth held by the richest 1% of households is greater than that held by 80% of the population. Throughout the cost-of-living crisis we are told that everyone will have to make sacrifices, but we must ask: why should ordinary people pick up the bill when the wealth of the richest 1% is more than £3.6 million per household?

“Plaid Cymru’s amendment to the Finance Bill would set up a Commission to put these questions to experts. All proposals put forward by the commission would have to be consistent with the aim of increasing enough revenue to maintain spending on public services at current levels in real terms as a minimum, and support the delivery of policies aimed at reducing inequality.

“The current economic crisis should force a fundamental rethink of how we tax wealth. Our tax system should be focused on supporting economic activity and reducing inequality, while ensuring sufficient resources are available to meet the costs of public services. The current tax system is failing on all three counts.”

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  • Carys Lloyd
    published this page in News 2023-04-21 12:23:35 +0100

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