More than 80 of the world’s richest people have called on governments to permanently increase taxes on them and other members of the wealthy elite to fund the economic recovery from coronavirus.
The super-rich members, including Ben and Jerry’s ice cream co-founder Jerry Greenfield and Disney heir Abigail Disney, called on ‘our governments to raise taxes on people like us. Immediately. Substantially. Permanently.’
In a letter shared with The Guardian, the group wrote: ‘As Covid-19 strikes the world, millionaires like us have a critical role to play in healing our world.’
It added: ‘No, we are not the ones caring for the sick in intensive care wards. We are not driving the ambulances that will bring the ill to hospitals. We are not restocking grocery store shelves or delivering food door to door.
‘But we do have money, lots of it. Money that is desperately needed now and will continue to be needed in the years ahead, as our world recovers from this crisis’
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The millionaires warned that the economic impact of coronavirus crisis will ‘last for decades’ and could ‘push half a billion more people into poverty’.
Among those adding their names to the letter are Sir Stephen Tindall, the founder of the Warehouse Group and New Zealand’s second richest man, British screenwriter and director Richard Curtis and Irish venture capitalist John O’Farrell, who made millions investing in Silicon Valley tech companies.
‘The problems caused by, and revealed by, Covid-19 can’t be solved with charity, no matter how generous. Government leaders must take the responsibility for raising the funds we need and spending them fairly,’ the letter said.
‘We owe a huge debt to the people working on the frontlines of this global battle. Most essential workers are grossly underpaid for the burden they carry.’
The group released the letter ahead of a meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors this weekend.
They urged politicians to ‘address global inequality and acknowledge that tax increases on the wealthy and greater international tax transparency are essential for a viable long-term solution’.
The number of super-rich people continues to grow despite the crippling impact of the coronavirus crisis and lockdowns on the global economy. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who is the world’s richest person, has seen his fortune increase by $75bn (£60) so far this year to a record £150bn.
In the UK, the Labour party has called on the government to consider introducing a wealth tax on the richest members of society to help fund the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Labour leader Keir Starmer this month said: “We are saying to the government, look at the idea of a wealth tax, we certainly support the principle that those with the broadest shoulders should bear the greatest burden.”
The millionaires’ letter was organised by the Patriotic Millionaires, Oxfam, Human Act, Tax Justice UK, Club of Rome, Resource Justice, and Bridging Ventures.
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