politics

Rishi Sunak urged to tax Britain’s wealthiest to help fund his coronavirus rescue package


RISHI Sunak has been urged to put the squeeze on Britain’s wealthiest families to help fund his coronavirus rescue package.

Campaigners believe an urgent reform of inheritance and property taxes will be vital if the Chancellor is to recover the £280billion spent in response to the pandemic.

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Rishi Sunak has been urged to tax Britain’s wealthiest families to help fund his coronavirus rescue package

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Rishi Sunak has been urged to tax Britain’s wealthiest families to help fund his coronavirus rescue packageCredit: Reuters

A report out today reveals that almost £800billion of assets held by Britain’s richest households has been missed by officials measures.

This is about five per cent of the total wealth in the UK- and could easily exceed that amount.

Jack Leslie, economist at the Resolution Foundation who uncovered the hidden wealth, said: “The UK has undergone a wealth boom in recent decades, which has continued even while earnings and incomes have stagnated.

“But official data has struggled to capture these gains, and misses £800 billion of assets held by the very wealthiest households in Britain.

“With the country facing a decade of mounting fiscal pressures, now is the time for Britain to do a better job of taxing its record levels of wealth by reforming our capital gains, inheritance and property taxes.”

Mr Sunak has spent £280billon supporting jobs and businesses during lockdown and has earmarked a further £55billion for this year.

His latest coronavirus spending will include £18billionn to protect hard-hit public services, £3billion to fund NHS recovery, £2billion for transport and £3billon for local councils.

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The think tank uncovered the missing wealth by merging figures from the Office for National Statistics wealth and assets survey with data published in the Sunday Times Rich List.

The new figures significantly increase measures of wealth inequality, raising the top one per cent of households’ share of total wealth by over a quarter – from 18 to 23 per cent.

Economist Jack Leslie said: 'now is the time for Britain to do a better job of taxing its record levels of wealth'

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Economist Jack Leslie said: ‘now is the time for Britain to do a better job of taxing its record levels of wealth’Credit: twitter/jackhleslie

While wealth inequality fell during most of the 20th century, it has been flat or increased slightly in recent decades.

A Treasury spokesman said yesterday: “Our priority right now is to support jobs and the economy. By protecting jobs and creating new opportunities through the Kickstart scheme and apprenticeships, we will be able to grow our economy.

“We’re committed to a fair and efficient tax system.”

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