A 2% tax on the richest people in the UK would raise £22bn a year, what are we waiting for? Oh yeah, a decent government.

If The UK Parliament spent more time taxing actual money rather than printing and devaluing it, along with a sprinkling of spending it in the right bloody way then perhaps we could climb out of the economic treacle pit we are in.

With government spending and general taxation policies at their highest levels since the end of World War Two, one would think Britain was a fair and equal welfare state that the what it was doing, it’s actually a deer in the headlights. Inflation has barely dropped below double figures and the UK workers might as well declare a general strike with the number of people rightly fed up with decreasing pay and working conditions.

At this precise, precarious, moment in time, the latest edition of the Sunday Times Rich List, which is basically a tier list of people that have more money than you could win in five EuroMillion lottery tickets, has been released. To make matters worse they are even richer than last year, while you have to consider whether you want to pay for a higher markup on Freddos.

The figures revealed the richest 250 families in the UK are sitting on a combined wealth of £748 billion, according to the rich list published last week, an increase from £704bn the previous year.

Think they could spare some of this wealth and use it to help the country temper its crippling inflation and pay workers deservedly more money? Good, then you’re not completely stupid. According to an analysis by Tax Justice UK, the Economic Change Unit and the New Economics Foundation (NEF),  A 2% tax on assets above £10m held by all members of the Sunday Times rich list could raise as much as £22 billion.

Lukasz Krebel, economist at NEF thinktank, said: “This year’s rich list shows that at a time when so many of us are struggling with the cost of living, the very wealthiest in society continue to thrive.

“Yet this elite group aren’t taxed as much as those of us who earn our living, leaving us with less money to invest in hospitals, schools and parks. We can share the wealth that we all create by increasing taxes on the very rich. By doing this, we can repair our public services, power our future with locally made energy from the wind and sun, and create jobs and thriving neighbourhoods for all of our families.”

Before you diminish this policy suggestion as being as impactful as pissing in the ocean based on the way the ‘party of fiscal responsibility’ handles money, £22 billion goes a long way in government spending. Take the spending on public health for instance, the number could contribute to pay rises and investment in better infrastructure for the NHS. The failure to improve the situation, contrary to anti-tax right-wingers, is not the amount of money or a nanny state it’s how it’s spent

In public spending in the last financial year of 2021-22, healthcare was the second highest form of government expenditure with a colossal budget of £216.8 billion. Even if a smaller sum was needed for this department, £22 billion easily eclipses the measly £13.9 billion spent on environmental protection and equally woeful £15.3 billion on housing and amenities. You would think environmental protection deserved more money thrown at it in a climate crisis but here we are.

Surprisingly, given the fact the Tories are hell-bent on inducting a police force that would make George Orwell wince thanks to the Public Order Act, this area had little more spending than the aforementioned sectors of government spending, with a total expenditure of just south of £50 billion.

Some of the rich lists has some awkward inclusions for the Prime Minister and his Conservative Party. Those on the rich list include the prime minister Rishi Sunak and wife Akshata Murty at number 275 out of 350, with £529m. Rishi is a high-tax prime minister, despite him suggesting otherwise, so you would think asking his wife’s company for 2% more would be acceptable, but saying this I risk him going full Will Smith on me and delivering a crisp slap, or using government spiel, a ‘crackdown’. 

In a depressing contrast, the median total wealth for individuals in Great Britain was estimated to be £125,000 between April 2018 and March 2020. With the cost of living biting harder than the gape of an alligator snapping turtle the economy can simply no longer be bailed out on the backs of higher tax rates on lower incomes. A bigger slice of the pie or Mosul needs to be carved out of the higher percentages of wealth to make it affordable.

The current basic tax rate is 20% for a wide range of incomes between £12,571 to £50,270.