Tax and fairness in the headlines
Tax and fairness in the headlines

Tax and fairness in the headlines

Thanks for reading.

Fair Comment was supposed to be on holiday this week, but as fairness made the headlines while we were away, here’s a brief reflection on the Sunak-Murthy tax story.

Will Snell

Chief Executive Fairness Foundation

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The Sunak tax story offends our sense of fairness in every way

Rishi Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty, was forced to give up her ‘non-dom' tax status last week to defend her husband’s career. In doing so it she made a point of saying that she appreciated the “British sense of fairness”.

Many others have written about the rights and wrongs of the Sunak family’s tax status, and of the various ways in which wealth could be taxed more effectively and equitably.

Just as with last month’s spring statement, Sunak’s lack of judgement on this issue is particularly telling because it fails the test on every aspect of fairness:

  • Fair opportunities: the vast majority of people don’t have same opportunities as the very wealthy to minimise their tax contributions
  • Fair reward: most people don’t accrue vast amounts of money in return for little to no effort through a combination of inherited wealth and rising asset prices
  • Fair exchange: we can only provide decent public services and support people in need if everyone pays the tax that they owe, rather than taking advantage of loopholes to minimise their tax contributions
  • Fair fundamentals: all of this is happening while millions of people are living in poverty due to a combination of low and insecure pay, inadequate benefits and the rising cost of living
  • Fair treatment: this reinforces the idea that there is one rule for them and one rule for everyone else, and that wealthy politicians are conflicted and out of touch with voters, especially after the Chancellor chose to focus tax increases on poorer voters rather than the wealthy

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