The UK government has ploughed billions of pounds into the economy to counter the coronavirus crisis.
The country’s public finances have taken a serious hit as a result. National debt last month exceeded £2tn for the first time, according to the Office for National Statistics, taking borrowing above 100 per cent of gross domestic product for the first time since the 1960-61 financial year.
Though the government’s immediate attention is on getting the country through the difficult times ahead, the challenge of recouping some of this huge outlay is already creeping on to the agenda. Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, is expected to cast light on his thinking in his planned autumn Budget, amid concern among some Tory MPs about possible tax increases.
Among a wide range of options, a wealth tax — a levy on a percentage of people’s net wealth — has come up in discussions among politicians, the finance sector and consumer groups.
Polling by YouGov has suggested the general public would support such taxes in principle — but only for those with assets of more than £750,000, excluding the main home and pensions. In practice this would take out the majority of those surveyed. But FT readers — richer on average than the general population — would almost certainly be more seriously affected by a wealth tax or substantive changes to capital gains tax or inheritance taxes. The latter two levies are already under active consideration by the Treasury.
Your views on the wealth tax
Should chancellor Rishi Sunak introduce a wealth tax? Please complete our short survey at FT.com/wealthtax by September 21. The results will be published in FT Money. Answers will be anonymous unless you choose otherwise.
Some readers have said in comments to the FT that they would be willing to pay a wealth tax on a one-off or possibly voluntary basis. However, others are dead set against the idea. We want to hear more of your thoughts and are offering readers the chance to shape the debate on wealth levies.
Would you support the introduction of a wealth tax in Britain? If you do, what should it cover? Only cash and financial investments, or property, art and valuables as well? If you oppose a wealth tax, what should Mr Sunak do instead? Should he, for example, increase capital gains tax rates?