Zarah Sultana is wrong – taxing the rich won’t fix the NHS

Connor Tomlinson

September 15, 2021

Never one to miss an opportunity to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, in a recent speech Labour MP Zarah Sultana fell back on her Party’s old socialist tropes: suggesting “taxing the rich” as the fix-all for social care funding. Abiding by the gospel of envy, Sultana urged the state to adopt a ‘wealth tax’ on the ‘billionaire class’ to prop up our ailing NHS.

The new increase in National Insurance contributions — an income tax hike which by any other name would stink as sour — have set Britain’s tax rate at its highest since WW2. (And somehow, former Chancellor Sajid Javid claims we’re still a ‘low-tax country’…) Only five Tories held fast to manifesto pledges and voted ‘No’.

Broken promises on everything from vaccine passports to pensions are brewing a backlash at the ballot box. Labour trails just 6 per cent percent behind; despite being in lockstep with lockdowns all through the pandemic, and Starmer seen as so weak that his favourability is as low as Extinction Rebellion’s. Even young Tory Twitter loyalists who accompanied 2019’s MP cohort are abandoning faith in Boris’ leadership.

The outrage is warranted. None of the money raised by the 42 per cent tax rate graduates will go to the elderly in need. Instead, it will help fund the six-figure-salaries of 42 new senior positions at the NHS.

Further bloating our bureaucratic healthcare system won’t help tackle the social care crisis; nor will it shorten the 5.6 million NHS waiting list for non-elective surgeries which will cost more lives than Covid.

Commentators have also exposed how taxpayer cash is squandered on hiring Critical Race conspiracy theorists. These ‘Diversity Managers’ on £70k salaries ideologically colonise Britain with a brand of American identity politics which calls desegregation ‘black genocide’. This is evil, inapplicable to Britain, and one wonders how many nurses could be hired in their stead.

Ms. Sultana’s proposal to have billionaires foot the bill isn’t wholly unwarranted. Amazon accrued record profits while their competitors were told, at government gunpoint, to shut up shop. But Sultana voted for the exact lockdown measures which decimated small-businesses, and consolidated wealth into these ‘Stakeholder Capitalist’ state-corporate partnerships in the first place.

This hypocrisy exposes Sultana as merely repurposing Corbyn’s anti-capitalist rhetoric. By pitting proletariat against a bourgeois enemy who’ll remain irredeemably immoral so long as wealth is unequally distributed (as it always is in a meritocracy), Sultana deflects culpability for her and the Party’s policies, and avoids public ire. The problem is not that inequality exists, but that the lockdowns she imposed removed meritocracy from the economy.

The wealth taxes Sultana proposes would chase job-creators out of the country. To quote Mitt Romney: “Corporations are people, my friend”. Though in 2020 Amazon’s corporate tax contribution was proportionally low to its profits, the employees packing boxes pay millions in income tax. Further financial penalties could cause Bezos and his billionaire buddies to take their business abroad.

Biden’s global tax plan would try to stop this industrial exodus, but such an international extortion racket would just impair lockdown recovery. And, while Amazon needs to be held accountable for their warehouses’ conditions, that can only happen when they operate in nations like ours which care about fair treatment.

Instead of taxing the rich to pay for more bureaucrats and CRT theorists, we should be pairing spending cuts with lower corporate and income taxes to reinvigorate opportunities for us to become home-owners like our grandparents. Savings plans could ensure care is paid for privately, without the need for the vulnerable to leave their homes. The trauma of transferring from a familiar environment to a hospital or residential care facility worsens the debilitating memory-loss of dementia. Cheaper domestic care, with regular family contact, will better ease the pain of a loved one’s last days.

If Ms. Sultana was truly concerned about how the healthcare system is funded, she would also address the record-high illegal migration into Britain, who can use the NHS free at the point of access, once they touch Dover’s shores.

To be fair, Sultana has repeatedly condemned military hawkishness in Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan, which destabilised the region and encouraged asylum seekers to cross Europe. But most asylum applicants originate from Iran — where Britain hasn’t deployed troops since 1941.

It’s likely that the recent influx of illegal migrants is more about our welfare state being too big a draw to ignore. Properly maintaining our health service will require a tougher stance on illegal immigration which Sultana is incapable of adopting. Perhaps in the meantime she could brush up on her economics.

Author

Written by Connor Tomlinson

Connor Tomlinson is the Policy Director at the British Conservation Alliance and a Young Voices Contriubtor

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