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
Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook are the favourites to become the first $1tn company (Business, 3 January). The market capitalisation of these companies is based on their share price, the share price is mainly based on their profits, and their profits are, in part, based on the tax they do not pay. If they did have to pay tax properly then their profits and share price would fall dramatically and there would be no $1tn company on the horizon.