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Millionaires call for wealth taxes

Over 100 millionaires have called on governments worldwide to introduce permanent wealth taxes to reduce global inequality and raise revenue for countries to recover from the pandemic

The group of millionaires and billionaires from nine countries across the world have published an open letter to governments and business leaders calling for an introduction of permanent taxes on the very richest in society to reduce extreme inequality and raise revenue for sustained, long-term increases in public services.

The campaign called In tax we trust, includes analysis by the Fight Inequality Alliance, Institute for Policy Studies, Oxfam, and the Patriotic Millionaires, which states that in the UK taxing the wealthiest 119,000 people at 2% for those worth over $5m (£3.6m), 3% over $50m (£36m), and 5% over $1bn (£733m), would raise £43.71bn annually.

The letter states that a more progressive tax at 3% for $5m (£3.6m), 5% for $50m (£36m), and 10% for $1bn (£733m) would raise £58bn.

This could pay for the health and social care levy twice over every year, cover the salaries of an additional 50,000 new nurses on the NHS, pay for a permanent £20 increase in universal credit, and build 35,000 affordable houses and retrofit most of the UK’s homes to reduce the cost of energy bills and help fight climate change.

The group published the letter during the World Economic Forum’s week long online Davos meeting, during which participants were expected to discuss critical global challenges and solutions.

Prominent signatories of the letter include US film producer and heiress Abigail Disney and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer, and British entrepreneur and founding member of Patriotic Millionaires UK, Gemma McGough.

McGough said: ‘A common value most people share is that if something’s not fair then it’s not right. But tax systems the world over have unfairness built-in, so why should people trust them?

‘At a time when simply living will cost the average household a further £1,200 a year, our government cannot expect to be trusted if it would rather tax working people than wealthy people. If they do anything in the next few months, they should do this: rather than raising National Insurance, tax the rich, tax us instead.’

Using the most up to date data sources, the analysis revealed that in the UK there are 138,375 people worth over £3.6m with a combined wealth of £2.26 trillion and there are 56 billionaires with a total wealth of £105.2bn.

Globally these numbers increase to 3.7m people with wealth above $5m with a combined wealth of $111.7 trillion (£81 trillion) with the 2,660 billionaires across the globe holding a total wealth of $13.76 trillion (£10 trillion).

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