This Autumn Statement was an opportunity for the Government to improve people’s lives, by tackling the ongoing cost-of-living scandal and investing in crumbling schools and hospitals. It was a chance to close tax loopholes and make tax fairer. Instead, the Government chose to cut some taxes whilst failing to properly support those struggling with the cost of everyday life and address public services in crisis.
Ahead of the Autumn Statement the former Archbishop of Canterbury joined us in calling for measures to tackle the poverty crisis, including reforms to shift taxes from income to wealth. But we saw no shift of taxes towards the ultra-wealthy, and instead an eye-catching package of tax cuts – so public spending will face a huge real-terms fall, without preventing the real-terms increase in taxes that ordinary people are facing.
For the 3.8 million people in the UK who experienced ‘horrifying levels of destitution’ last year, this budget was a far cry from the bold steps we so desperately need our Government to take. Whilst measures to increase benefits and the minimum wage are welcome, these fail to address the erosion in living standards through inflation, stagnating wages, and a failure to invest in public services.
JustMoney Movement Executive Director, Sarah Edwards said:
“This Autumn Statement was an opportunity for the Chancellor to shift the narrative around tax, to celebrate it as a blessing – a mechanism through which we can pay for the collective goods we need to live a full life. Whether in terms of hospital waiting lists, unsafe school buildings, or benefits that don’t even cover the basic cost of essentials, we needed the Government to step up and offer bold reforms for the common good. We want to see a fairer tax system, where we all – including the very wealthiest – pay a fair share to create a flourishing society. Unfortunately, the political will to bring this about was nowhere to be seen”
Our Thanks for Tax poll has highlighted that people are thankful for the vital public services their taxes pay for. 70% of respondents said they were thankful that their taxes fund the NHS, followed by education (10%) and welfare (7.2%). The public understand that we need taxes – fairly shared – to pay for these collective goods. Instead of today’s headline-grabbing tax cuts, the JustMoney Movement is calling for meaningful reforms, to create a more just tax system where the wealthy pay their fair share, and a fresh debate about the role of tax in creating a society where everyone can flourish.
 Former Archbishop Rowan Williams said, “We in the UK are witnessing – and, sadly, tolerating – levels of inequality and insecurity not seen in this country for decades. It is often said that justice deferred is justice denied. We urge the UK Government not to defer tackling this crisis and to use the means at its disposal – including reform of our tax system to tax wealth more fairly – to offer some hope and freedom of agency to those most at risk in our society.”
 Real terms tax increases are mostly imposed through ‘fiscal drag’ through the freezing of tax thresholds in recent years
 The OBR has forecast that living standards will be 3.5% lower in 2024-25 than pre-pandemic: the largest reduction in living standards since records began.
Photo Credit: Richard Townshend, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons