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Does the UK need a wealth tax on millionaires and billionaires?

Graham Watson

17th January 2023

The Guardian makes the case here for a wealth tax arguing that currently the four richest people in Britain own more wealth than 20 million of their compatriots.

Additionally, they argue that the official data on the issue is misleading and understates the extent of inequality in the UK, by understating the share of total wages accounted for by the rich.

According to a new report from Oxfam, the latest data reveals that of the $26 trillion of wealth created since the pandemic, two-thirds of it was accrued by 1% of the population.

Richest 1% own 40.5% of India's wealth, says new Oxfam report (BBC News)

What is a wealth tax?

A wealth tax is a tax on an individual's net worth, or their assets minus liabilities. The tax is typically applied to assets such as real estate, investments, and cash savings, but can also include luxury items such as art, jewelry, and yachts.

Examples of countries that have implemented a wealth tax include France, Spain, and Switzerland. In France, for example, the wealth tax applies to individuals with net assets above €1.3 million, and the rate ranges from 0.5% to 1.5%.

In Spain, the tax applies to individuals with net assets above €700,000, and the rate ranges from 0.2% to 2.5%. In Switzerland, the tax is implemented at the cantonal and municipal level, and rates can vary widely.

Graham Watson

Graham Watson has taught Economics for over twenty years. He contributes to tutor2u, reads voraciously and is interested in all aspects of Teaching and Learning.

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