Millionaires call for wealth tax in countdown to UK Budget day

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Millionaires call for wealth tax in countdown to UK Budget day

A group of 30 UK millionaires have called on the chancellor to tax them and other rich people more because they can afford to pay it and "the cost of recovery cannot fall on the young or on those with lower incomes".

In an open letter in the run-up to the UK Budget taking place on Wednesday 27 October, the millionaires told Rishi Sunak to introduce a wealth tax on the nation's richest people to help pay for the recovery from the coronavirus crisis and tackle the yawning inequality gap.

The letter said: "We understand the immense pressure on the Treasury to deal with crises both present and future - from inequality, to Covid, to climate change. We know there will be high expectations for you to find the money needed.

We can afford to contribute more, and we want to invest in repairing and improving our shared services."

We know where you can find that money - tax wealth holders like us. We can afford to contribute more, and we want to invest in repairing and improving our shared services. We are proud to pay our taxes to reduce inequality, support stronger social care and the NHS, and to ensure that we're building a more just and green society.

The letter added: "The cost of recovery cannot fall on the young or on those with lower incomes. There are many of us - people with wealth - who will support a more progressive system of taxation, and we urge you to do the same.

When deciding on how to meet the financial gap, look to us. Repairing our country is more valuable than growing our wealth."

The Guardian quoted one of the signatories, Gary Stevenson, a multimillionaire former City trader, who said: "Instead of raising national insurance and taking £1,000 a year away from families on universal credit, the chancellor, who is a multimillionaire, should be taxing himself and people like me - people with wealth. We can't expect to have a strong or stable recovery if the fiscal burden of it is placed on our care workers, street cleaners and teachers - key workers who deserve better - while we don't tax the rich."

The technology entrepreneur Gemma McGough, who also signed the letter, said it made economic sense to tax rich people more. "This letter isn't a goodwill statement, this is an attempt to shake the chancellor by the fiscal shoulders and wake him up," she said.

"If we endlessly tax working people and never tax where the big money is being made, our country will continue to suffer. Any business-minded person will tell you it makes good economic sense to balance your books. Where is the balance when wealth gets stockpiled by a small group of very rich people and the cost of the country falls to those on lower and middle incomes?"

The International Partners in Progress initiative behind the open letter said its aim is "to establish a network of engaged millionaires prepared to use their individual and collective power for action on fair taxation, liveable wages, and equal political representation. This network will work both at national levels and through international institutions, such as the OECD, IMF/World Bank, G7, and G20. We will build connections with progressive allies and initiatives and work together to deliver change."