BORIS Johnson recently indicated, during the Conservative leadership elections, that he would implement tax cuts for some of the UK’s highest earners. It has been estimated that tax cuts for the rich have already deprived the UK public of almost £14 billion – an amount that would fund plans to address the social care crisis for two full years, according to new analysis published by UNISON.

While millions of people have struggled financially over the past few years, 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 introduced in April 2013 has benefited the rich, while local authorities have been starved of funds leading to services cuts in many areas. It’s felt that this has contributed to social care problems faced across the UK.

UNISON has calculated that the savings for super-earners with incomes of more than £1 million a year is £13.98 billion. As a result the UK’s millionaires have paid £782,000 less tax on average over seven years. A new report by the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee on the adult social care sector has estimated that a new NHS-style social care system would cost £7 billion annually and could be funded from taxation.

Whilst the UK has a massive ongoing funding crisis in social care, it seems astonishing that tax cuts for some of the wealthiest in society could ever be a political priority. This is money which should be used to tackle the growing problems in funding social care problem.

Boris Johnson has pledged to raise the threshold for the 40p tax rate, which the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) estimates will cost £9 billion in lost revenue every year.

A UNISON analysis of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) statistics published recently highlighted that the number of taxpayers earning more than £1m each year has risen from 15,000 to 21,000 since the then Chancellor George Osborne introduced the tax cut in 2013.

Martin Challender

Communications Officer