Treasury Committee chair: 'One-off wealth tax' could patch the Covid gap in public finances

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The MP who leads the Treasury Committee suggested this morning that Chancellor Rishi Sunak should introduce a one-off wealth tax to help revive the country’s public finances.

As the pandemic is tearing its way through public finances, the chair of the UK Treasury Committee, Mel Stride, said a one-off wealth tax may be an effective avenue out of the fiscal downturn, without raising taxes across the board.

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“I think what might be more promising in terms of effectively raising more tax might be a one-off wealth tax,” Stride said.

“That is probably nearer the end of the spectrum of the possible-stroke-question mark-desirable than an annual wealth tax.”

Stride said both France and Switzerland have tried to introduce wealth taxes only to then withdraw the idea.

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Due to announce his next spending and tax plans in March, Sunak has reportedly told supporters that a one-off wealth tax would go against his Conservative Party’s values. 

However, Sunak’s emergency spending and tax cuts are set to cost over £280m in the next financial year. 

This will make the UK’s largest peacetime budget deficit in history. 

The Treasury Committee has no formal role in proposing economic policy, however, it published a report this morning urging the government to establish its plan for lifting Covid-19 restrictions on the economy.

The Committee also wanted the government to map out the economic costs and benefits of the restrictions. 

The prime minister will this week decide how quickly lockdown can be lifted.

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