Millionaires asking to be taxed MORE say it could be an ‘easy fix’ to the cost of living crisis | Personal finance | Finance
Gemma McGough, one of the founding members, is a successful self-made millionaire in the field of entrepreneurship. She shared with Express.co.uk about the campaign to raise wealth taxes and lower burdens on the working class, saying ‘paying more tax isn’t going to make the rich poorer’.
Ms McGough grew up in a working-class family and didn’t go to university, saying she understands what it’s like to fear the postman will bring a bill you can’t pay.
She said: “I remember growing up without a car and without ice inside the windows because the house is so cold.”
She started her career at just 16 working in the regulatory industry she loved, and met her ex-husband when he was a client.
The couple built a business competing, as Ms McGough said, ‘just got lucky’, and put in grueling hours earning high incomes in a high-growth industry.
The couple sold the business and Ms McGough invested the proceeds in the stock market, she said: ‘That’s how I got rich enough to qualify for the Patriotic Millionaires.’
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However, recalling her past, she noted, “The reality is that paying an additional 2% tax on my wealth wouldn’t send me back there. You will always be fine, if you have passed a certain threshold in your wealth, it is almost impossible to become poor. Paying more taxes will not make rich people poor.
Patriotic Millionaires UK is the British branch of the Patriotic Millionaires movement which started in the United States. It originally started during the pandemic when Ms McGough was one of 40 people in the UK to sign the Millionaires for Humanity petition.
The petition called on the government to use the wealth of the wealthy to help pay for the pandemic.
Ms McGough is now one of 20 patriotic UK millionaires, all of whom come from different industries and most are self-made like her.
She explained: “We have a common mission to campaign to raise taxes on wealthy people like us. It’s easy for the poor to say, “We should tax the rich,” but when the rich say, “We’ve had enough, we should be taxed too,” it reinforces the argument.
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“I don’t like the fact that society is so unequal, life is very hard for most people and it’s very easy for someone like me. We can engage in philanthropy and use that money for good, but taxation and philanthropy are different things. We need a change in the tax system.
Ms McGough admitted guilt because of her wealth, despite working 60-hour work weeks when starting her business, saying: ‘A lot of people work really hard and really long hours and don’t make it, so I’m I felt guilty for having done well.”
The campaign encountered many obstacles, namely resistance to such a big change from various factions of society.
She said: ‘The narrative is always that tax is a bad thing and especially in troubled times where people feel protective of themselves and their wealth so that’s understandable. On the other hand, if you look at how much money you have compared to other people who are struggling to feed their children or heat their homes now, it’s a reality check.
The campaign was recognized by the government and received a response for its idea.
Ms McGough explained: ‘We received a letter from the Treasury saying they felt the current tax system was already adequately taxing the wealthy.
“We often see people arguing about things like if you tax the rich, they are the ones creating the jobs and they will leave the country. These are arguments made by a very small fraction of the super rich to keep things the same.
“None of the things we’re advocating for will affect anyone outside of the 1%, so unless you’re in the 1%, the changes will be a plus. We don’t need billionaires anyway.
“I think maybe 200 years from now we’ll look back to that time when people are starving and billionaires are living side by side on the same planet, it’s a grotesque inequality. The rich pay less tax proportionally to their income, that the petty bourgeoisie is common sense!
She also added that many people wonder why individual millionaires don’t just voluntarily pay more to the government if they want to.
To that, she replied, “That’s like telling Extinction Rebellion to just be vegan then! It won’t actually solve the climate crisis and any individual millionaire paying more taxes won’t solve inequality.
“I think if you’re middle class who work hard every day, the notion of wealth tax might seem like if you’re finally successful and you’re rich, they’re going to tax you on that. But this is not the case.
“We are advocating for less taxes on work and more taxes on wealth, such as equalizing capital gains tax with income tax which would be fairer. You currently pay more taxes on the money you make only on the money the stock market earns you, which is stupid.
The campaign wants to introduce an annual wealth tax in the UK, implementing 2% on wealth over £3.67m, 3% on wealth over £36.79m and 5% on wealth over £735m.
Collectively, according to the campaign, this will bring in £43billion a year without affecting anyone outside of the theoretical 1%.
She concluded: “We are not affected by rising energy and food prices, we continue to make money and get richer. For most families in the UK, they are The argument against this is getting thinner and thinner.
“There is an easy solution, taxing wealth more and pushing it back into the system so everyone can lead a better life. Growing inequality has completely eroded democracy, if it continues we will have no society. that works in the future We lose our empathy for others.
“The correlation between hard work and success is only tied for the lucky ones. A living wage isn’t really enough to live on, especially not with rising costs. I don’t know how people can manage. There is a lot of social narrative that is wrong.