Professor Steve Schifferes says a citizens’ wealth fund in the UK could be the key to boosting productivity, tackling inequality, and giving citizens a new sense of control over their lives. Plus Michael Gold says that if the tech giants paid tax properly there would be no $1tn company on the horizon
I strongly endorse your editorial (30 December) suggesting that a UK citizens’ wealth fund could make a major contribution to reversing the worrying growth in inequality, particularly wealth inequality, in the last few decades. The estimates by my project team suggest that it would be feasible to create a £1tn citizens’ wealth fund within a generation, partly based on making better use of our estimate of £3tn in publicly owned assets. In our view, such a “Next Generation Fund” could make an important contribution to reducing intergenerational inequality as well, and ensure that an increased level of public spending and public investment can be afforded in the future when the revenue that can be raised from taxation will be constrained by the increase in the number of older people relative to those in work.
As well as the successful implementation of such schemes in countries as diverse as Norway, Singapore and Australia, they also exist on a smaller scale in the UK, including the Shetland and Orkney trusts and the crown estate. I believe that introducing a citizens’ wealth fund in the UK – not run by the government but by the people – could be the key to boosting productivity, tackling inequality, and giving citizens a new sense of control over their lives. The idea deserves cross-party support.
Professor Steve Schifferes
City, University of London; Director, UK Social Wealth Fund Project