Time to give good measure?

Cat Jenkins, Programme Manager at Church Action for Tax Justice, shares a new campaign on wealth taxes and the common good:

Tax isn’t always the most exciting subject, at the best of times. But in these ‘not-at-all-the-best-of-times’, when households are battling with ever rising energy, fuel and food prices and anticipating worse to come, it’s harder than ever to get people enthused about the subject.

And understandably so: with benefit cuts and imminent rises in National Insurance Contributions, the tax burden on the working poor and middle as a proportion of their incomes is as high as it’s been for a long time. For many, it’s a perfect storm of rocketing living costs and shrinking disposable income.   But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Church Action for Tax Justice (CATJ), a programme run  by the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility, is campaigning for a rejig of the personal tax regime. The Good Measure campaign calls for the introduction of wealth taxes, so as to enable the UK’s richest households to make a fairer contribution to the Government’s tax ‘take’, reducing the need to impose ever higher taxes on those already struggling.

Is this a reasonable thing to do? We think so – especially as those households on lower incomes are often the very same ones also battling precarious employment situations, or unpredictable zero-hours contracts, as a result of the pandemic (and in a horrible irony, they’re also often the same ‘key workers’ who put their own health at risk keeping our bins emptied, loved ones cared for, supermarket shelves stacked and vaccinations delivered whilst the country was in lockdown).  Meanwhile, many wealthy individuals actually benefitted financially over the 2+ years of the pandemic.

As Christians, we’re called to share the abundance with which we’re blessed. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul reminds the well-off to give generously to those who aren’t, and encourages them thus: “For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness” (2 Cor 8:13-14).  

At CATJ, we’re calling on the Chancellor to introduce a one-off wealth tax on the country’s richest 1%, followed by a review of the personal tax regime so as to enable ongoing wealth taxes to be levied, taking account of other personal taxes and of the loopholes that the wealthy sometimes exploit to hide their assets.

We’d love it if you would join us. You can do so by signing up online to our letter to the Chancellor here, sharing the campaign on your social media, and if you’re able, donating to CATJ so as to help us keep on keeping on! We believe in a fairer, more compassionate society – and taxation, unlovely as it might seem at first glance, can be a powerful tool to help bring this about.

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