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Letters / ‘No one needs to be a billionaire’

With the Shetland Islands Council’s finances in a perilous state, and the chief executive’s observation that local government is failing across the country, we should take a wider look at the distribution of wealth in this country.

We have an economic system in Britain that has overseen a huge transfer of funds from government and ordinary people to the super-rich: those people who have more than £10million in wealth.

In 1990, billionaire wealth in Britain was £53.9bn. In 2022 it was £653.1bn – a more than tenfold increase. Billionaire wealth accelerated most significantly during the pandemic.

Increasing income tax further cannot get this situation under control. We need wealth taxation that directly targets the extreme wealth of the super-rich.

This is not the politics of envy – this is a question of how we allocate the wealth in our society. It might be nice that there are folk can have a good idea, work hard, get lucky and make a million pounds, but no one needs to be a billionaire.

I find it grotesque that Rishi Sunak, himself worth £700million, could personally afford, if he chose to, to sustain the local authority finances of Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles by himself.

In a general election year, it’s extremely disappointing that the Tories, Labour and even the Liberal Democrats, have ruled out wealth taxation.

The country is in serious financial hardship, because we have tolerated an economic system has funnelled so much wealth into the pockets of the super-rich.

If we value prosperity, public services and tackling poverty, we need to take action to rebalance our economy with wealth taxation.

Cllr Alex Armitage
Shetland South
Scottish Green Party

Council budget approved amid significant unease at draw on reserves

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