Keir Starmer is right to take on inequality, but tax reform is essential to this task | Polly Toynbee

SourceThe Guardian
CountryMiddle east

Everything about the UK tax system is upside down - we tax work, while relieving unearned gains. And the public knows itIn a stricken country in a state of suspended animation, everyone says build back better, but no one knows if we have the collective will. Standing on a burning platform with a sky-high debt mountain, public services crippled by austerity, Covid and Brexit, it’s not an obvious moment for optimism. But there’s a rumbling suggestion that this conservative country could be changing.Keir Starmer’s speech reached for that mood, citing William Beveridge’s 1942 report beckoning to a better postwar future.

He might have looked to John Maynard Keynes in 1940, lifting political horizons in How to Pay for the War. He called for “courage” and “enough lucidity of mind in leaders … to explain to the public what is required” and “in a spirit of social justice to draw up a plan which uses a time of general sacrifice to move towards reducing inequalities”. And in 1945 people did find that “lucidity of mind”. In this deepest financial crisis for 300 years, with twice as many dead as those lost from the blitz and flying bombs, Starmer echoes those Kenynesian more...