Tax cuts for rich could have funded social care crisis for two years, union says

Tax cuts for the rich in recent years have deprived the public of almost £14 billion – money that would fund plans to end the social care crisis for two years, a new study suggests.

Unison said that while millions of people have struggled financially, the highest earners have enjoyed hundreds of thousands of pounds in savings as a result of a reduced top rate of income tax.

The Government’s decision to cut the top rate from 50p to 45p in April 2013 has saved the richest taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds, while local authorities have been starved of funds and services cut, contributing to social care problems faced across the country, said the union.

Unison calculated that the savings for those with incomes of more than £1 million a year have reduced payments to the Treasury by £13.98 billion, between 2013 and the current financial year 2019/2020.

As a result, the UK’s millionaires have paid £782,000 less tax on average over seven years, it was suggested.

Unison said its analysis of HM Revenue & Customs statistics published last week shows the number of taxpayers earning more than £1 million each year has risen from 15,000 to 21,000 since the then chancellor George Osborne introduced the tax cut in 2013.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The Conservative leadership candidates have got their priorities all wrong.

“The whole country knows social care is in urgent need of major reform, but sees politicians continually kicking the can down the street while offering tax sweeteners to people who are already more than well off.

“The elderly and other vulnerable people need the care sector to be funded properly. It also needs an injection of cash to better value the work of those in the care sector.

“They are the lifeline that helps people with complex needs stay in their own homes yet are being paid less than workers stacking supermarket shelves.

“Instead of helping the rich line their pockets, the Government should be ploughing money into services which make a real difference to society and our ageing population across the whole of the UK.

“This lost £14 billion would not have been a permanent fix but could have been a step in the right direction.”

A Treasury spokesman said: “The government’s approach is striking the right balance between supporting our vital public services and keeping taxes low, with the top 5% of earners contributing over a half of all income tax.

“We’ve also committed to helping the lowest earners by increasing the National Living Wage and taken millions out of income tax altogether.”

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