Wealth tax on savings, investments and property needed - Yorkshire Post Letters

From: John Chater, Morchard Bishop, Crediton, near Exeter.

Is the gap between rich and poor getting wider, and if so, does it matter?

The UK has a very high level of income inequality compared to other developed countries and the gap between rich and poor has increased by about 40 per cent since 1961 (IFS Deaton Review).

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Two renowned social scientists have carried out very detailed research into what effect inequality has on a whole range of social outcomes (The Spirit Level ). They found that of the 21 most economically developed countries in the world, there is a strong correlation between inequality and social outcomes (health, mental health, drug use, murder rates, infant mortality, obesity and educational attainment).

One reader has called for a wealth tax.

The countries with the lowest levels of inequality (like Japan, Norway, Sweden) have the best outcomes and those with the highest levels of inequality (like USA, Singapore, UK) have the worst outcomes. The message is very clear – the lower the gap between rich and poor, the better the outcomes for the society as a whole. But how can we reduce levels of inequality?

The famous economist, Thomas Piketty, has shown that as long as an economy grows, so does the wealth gap between rich and poor. Although progressive taxation (where the rich pay more than the poor) helps reduce inequality, most of the very rich individuals and companies avoid tax in one way or another.

The most effective way, according to Piketty, is to have an annual wealth tax of one or two per cent which is a tax on savings, investments and property. Everyone would need to be completely open and honest with HMRC about their wealth holdings and face prison sentences if they were not. Tax havens for UK citizens would be illegal.

From: ME Wright, Harrogate.

I don’t understand the outrage which has greeted the Sunak family revelations, which appear to fall within the perceived ‘rightness’ of long-time UK tax law, The Yorkshire Post, April 11.

My greater concern is the Chancellor’s ‘Green Card’ which bestows American citizenship on him. Would he care to explain why he has it? Post- Brexit, the historic trans-Atlantic ‘elephant-in-the-room’ becomes increasingly evident. I didn’t realise that we were stabling it at Number 11 Downing Street.

I recently received an email asking for a donation to the Conservative party. I think I’ll leave that to the tax-dodging oligarchs and the rest of them.