Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/306/12661
Make The Fat Cats Pay
CABINET MINISTER Peter Hain's very modest proposal - to increase the tax rate paid by the rich - caused a political storm.
Taxpayers now start paying the 40% top rate at £35,115 a year. Many better-paid workers are sucked in, especially in high-priced London. Millionaires and fat cats pay no higher rate than some nursing staff. Hain said a 50% rate for earnings over £50,000 and a 60% rate over £100,000 would mean that taxpayers earning under £50,000 a year could just pay the basic rate (22%).
The public sector think-tank, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, say this would cut the number of people paying higher rate tax to 1.7 million, but would bring the government in £5 billion more each year. Only those who earned over £76,000 a year would pay more.
This (very small) 'redistribution' drove Tory Blair to denounce Hain. New Labour's leaders promised the super-rich that they wouldn't pay higher rates of taxation. Blair's broken pledges to the working class by the barrel-load (see article below) but when it comes to the rich, his word's his bond!
After Blair's slap-down, Hain retracted his speech, saying he was just trying to open a debate on taxation.
Well, he's certainly done that. Many people, especially low-paid workers such as health workers in east London, Bolton and Lincolnshire fighting for a decent wage (see page 3), would back his plans - and more.
Unfortunately, the rich will still try a million ways to stop paying any taxes, such as putting their income or investments in low-tax or no-tax havens. Despite New Labour bringing down big business's taxes, many rich individuals and companies still pay little or no tax.
Nonetheless, we would back Hain's proposals. We also support imposing higher corporation tax on big business as well as putting up personal tax rates for the rich. We'd fight for a wealth tax. But if you seriously want to fight inequality, the best way is to join our fight to ditch capitalism and build a socialist society.
In The Socialist 28 June 2003: