Labour MP Richard Burgon is asking people to sign a petition, which he’ll later present to parliament. And given the subject matter, there’s no reason for most people not to get involved. Because Burgon wants to properly tax the “super-rich”.
Burgon is back
The former shadow justice minister under Jeremy Corbyn is not messing about. As he tweeted:
He’s doing it with the group Labour Assembly Against Austerity. The petition says on its website:
We call on the House of Commons to introduce higher taxes on the super-rich as a step to tackling the widespread poverty and inequality that scar our society.
This crisis has not only shone a spotlight on the huge inequalities in our society – it has deepened them.
Indeed. Because since the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the situation for millions of people in the UK has become even more desperate.
The pandemic: chaos for some, a money-spinner for others
As The Canary has documented, inequality and poverty have got worse since March last year. For example:
- The number of households living in destitution more than doubled in 2020.
- A parliamentary report suggested more people died of coronavirus and suffered unnecessarily during the pandemic due to historical Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) cuts.
- People using foodbanks rose even more; 33% for the Trussell Trust alone.
But the story wasn’t the same for everyone. For example:
- The number of UK billionaires increased by 24%. Their wealth increased by 21% – collectively to over half a trillion pounds.
- House prices increased by 13.4% – the largest rise since 2004.
- Average FTSE 100 CEOs had already earned the median UK wage within the first 34 hours of the working year.
The chasm between the lives of the rich and the poor was already wide. Now, the pandemic has created a gulf. So, Burgon has three ways to begin addressing this.
As the petition states, he’s calling for:
A Wealth Tax that would raise tens of billions from the wealthiest in our society.
A Windfall Tax on those corporations that have made super-profits during this crisis.
A More progressive income tax system including a new 55% income tax rate on all income over £200,000 per year; a 50% income tax rate for those on over £123,000 and 45% rate for income over £80,000.
It remains to be seen how far Burgon’s plans will go in parliament. The Labour Party is unlikely to support them. The Tories certainly won’t. What Burgon is doing, however, is starting a conversation around the gaping inequality that plagues our society. And any increase in awareness and conversations around this issue can only be a good thing. So, get involved – you can sign the petition here.
Featured image via Rwendland – Wikimedia