HC Deb 26 March 1974 vol 871 cc312-3

The Labour Party has pledged itself to achieve a major redistribution of both wealth and income. It has always been our aim to use the taxation system to promote greater social and economic equality. We live in a country where wealth is less equally divided even than in the United States and where differences of personal wealth serve to reinforce and perpetuate that type of class division which has done as much as anything to prevent Britain from achieving the same level of economic performance as most of her competitors in the Western world. The time has now come for a determined attack on the maldistribution of wealth in Britain.

To be effective, this attack calls for thoroughgoing reforms in the taxation of capital which can only be accomplished in stages. I shall approach the task as follows.

First, the Government intend to introduce an annual wealth tax on the rich. Such a tax is an accepted feature of many other countries' taxation systems, but it will be a new departure in this country, and I believe that it should be introduced only after a thorough public discussion about the precise form it should take, the rate at which it is levied, and its relationship with other forms of taxation. My first step towards this reform will, therefore be the publication of a Green Paper during the summer.

Forward to