Wednesday 22 February 2023


Tax Justice UK is a campaigning and advocacy organization. They want to ensure that everyone in the UK benefits from a fair and effective tax system. They are a not-for-profit body and present themselves as politically non-aligned. 

I am sharing a couple of their most recent newsletters with you because it seems to me important to do so - but I am not politically neutral. The Tory obsession with keeping taxes low and reducing the size of the state has led us - after thirteen years - to the dire straits in which we are now floundering; our society ever more unequal; a land of strikes, poverty, and misgovernment. 

My thanks to the creators of this image - The Wicked 7 Project

Dear Rob,


The super rich just keep getting richer. And calls for wealth taxes are growing louder.

Since the start of the Covid pandemic, the world’s richest 1% have increased their wealth by

a staggering £21 trillion – enough to lift 2 billion people out of poverty. That’s the shocking finding of a new report from Oxfam.

The report showed that the UK’s richest 1% are now worth £2.8 trillion, making them wealthier than two thirds of the UK population combined, as the Mail reported.

Rise in extreme poverty

Not only are the rich getting richer, but the poor are getting poorer.

Oxfam said the rise in extreme wealth was being accompanied by a rise in extreme poverty globally for the first time in a quarter of a century.

The charity is calling for the introduction of global wealth taxes on the super rich to reverse this rise in extreme inequality. And they are getting some important backers.

In October we set out five wealth policies that could raise £37 billion a year in the UK.

Big backers for wealth taxes

Tech billionaire Bill Gates backed the Oxfam report and said last week he supported the introduction of greater taxes on wealth.

While 200 millionaires from around the world have demanded leaders gathering at Davos this week consider wealth taxes. The Guardian newspaper also came out in favour in an editorial this week.

Businessman Ian Gregg, former director of high-street baker Greggs, also said he supported our call for wealth taxes in a video in the UK this week.

Pressure is growing on governments around the world to take action on soaring wealth inequality. Public support for wealth taxes is spreading.

If you’d like to share this, you can retweet it on Twitter and share the Facebook post. It’s also on our website here.


Robert Palmer

Executive Director

Inequalities in Victorian Britain - even as it boasted of having the most powerful empire in the world


Dear Rob

  • It’s been a busy week for tax campaigners. Conservative party chairman Nadhim Zahawi has paid a £1 million penalty to His Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for being ‘careless’ with his taxes, it was reported.
  • Zahawi initially didn’t pay the right amount of tax on £27 million of income from YouGov, the polling company he founded. It’s been suggested he simply forgot. This stretches credulity, as I told GB News. Zahawi describes his actions as ‘careless’.
  • We all have to pay tax. When rich individuals and wealthy companies don’t fully comply, it dents confidence in the system for everyone else – and takes money away from our public services.
  • It’s staggering to believe that someone who was briefly Chancellor of the Exchequer, and in charge of our tax system, failed to pay his own taxes properly. It’s untenable that he remains in public office. Zahawi must go. [He did go!]
  • As I said on Sky News, the episode raises broader questions about how the UK’s tax authority, HMRC, operates.

Over five years ago - and now the situation is so much worse.

  • £42 billion black hole
  • The Zahawi case came to prominence following the relentless digging and media work of former tax lawyer Dan Neidle.
  • This case raises serious questions about HMRC’s own ability to investigate complex tax cases. HMRC’s problems go beyond Zahawi. The department lacks the tools and resources it needs to do its job properly.
  • Parliament’s spending watchdog said two weeks ago that there was a £42 billion black hole of unpaid taxes, in part because HMRC didn’t have the staff to enforce compliance.
  • HMRC staff who usually deal with tax dodging have been moved to work on Covid and Brexit in recent years, making the problem worse.
  • They are under such a strain that they have announced they are balloting to go on strike. I’m fully behind the over-stretched tax inspectors fighting for better pay and conditions.

  • These issues with HMRC are explored in greater detail today in a Guardian comment piece I wrote. In the piece I also sketched out the unfair – but legal – routes that are open to wealthy individuals and companies to reduce their tax bills.
  • In order to have a fair and effective tax system – that stops the rich and powerful playing by a different set of rules – HMRC needs to be properly resourced, as I told Julia Hartley Brewer on Talk TV.
  • HMRC staff are worth their weight in gold when it comes to bringing in tax. The government must invest more in the tax authority – and such investment would easily pay for itself through improved tax receipts. It’s an easy decision.
  • As I said to Talk TV, there are grounds for optimism. Over the last ten years governments around the world have made some progress on cracking down on tax dodging, in part due to pressure from tax justice campaigners. There’s so much more to do, but it is possible to change things.

Tell the world - please share

The more we know, the better our understanding - and the more effective our actions to bring about change for the better. 

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