Labour has called for a wealth tax on the richest to boost recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds urged the Government “to not increase taxes or cut support for low and middle-income people” during the crisis.
But, in her first major speech since being appointed three months ago, she warned a “new settlement” was needed to address the injustice of the worst-off paying more tax proportionally than high earners, while the richest feather their nests from wealth.
She said: “Over the last 10 years, the gap in income and wealth has increased, and living standards for low and middle-income people have stagnated – at the same time as taxes for the very best-off have been reduced.
“So finally, government must commit, at the very least, to not increase taxes or cut support for low and middle-income people, during the period while we recover from this crisis.
“Because just like the small business that fears for its future, what people want – what they deserve – is fairness.”
Urging ministers to consider a wealth tax, which would target assets rather than income, she went on: “I think the Government does need to look at this area, I don’t think we’re in a fair situation – and of course for the very, very best-off people quite a bit of their money coming in is derived from wealth.
“I think we do need to have that new settlement and actually much of the opinion data has indicated that has a lot of support among the UK population as well.”
Speaking ahead of Chancellor Rish Sunak’s minI-Budget on Wednesday, she called on the Government to adopt a “targeted strategy” in extending the furlough scheme to avoid a “flood of redundancy notices”.
But she said Labour would not back extending the job retention scheme – which has seen the Government meet up to 80% of workers’ wages – indefinitely, insisting it should be used to support worst-affected industries.