LEAP met with Professor Greg Philo yesterday, who presented the case for a Wealth Tax to solve the deficit.
It certainly put things in perspective. The UK has a national debt of £800 billion. By comparison, the total personal wealth in the UK is £9,000bn. It is mostly concentrated at the top, so the richest 10% own £4,000bn (by contrast, the poorest half have less than one-tenth of the total UK personal wealth).
What Professor Philo proposes is a 20% wealth tax on the wealthiest 10%, which would pay off the national debt and dramatically reduce the deficit, since interest payments on the debt are a large part of government spending.
The richest 10% have only to assume liability for their small part of the debt. They can pay a low rate of interest on it and if they wish make it a charge on their property when they die. It would be akin to a student loan for the rich.
Polling suggests a Wealth Tax would be popular, a YouGov poll of over 2,000 people found very strong support, with 74% of the population approving (44% strongly approving). Only 10% did not approve.
Footage of Professor Philo propounding a Wealth Tax on the Politics Show, to a rather bemused Tory MP and Labour's Yvette Cooper, is embedded below:
You can also read more about the Wealth Tax on the Glasgow Media Group website.