Tax vs Philanthropy: What Can the Government Do That I Can’t Do Better?
The UK is one of the most unequal developed countries in the world, and this is causing tensions within our democracy.
Is more taxation the way to reduce inequalities? Or is it time for super-rich philanthropists to step up to address social needs and innovation gaps?
Chancellors of the Exchequers? Or philanthropists’ chequebooks? Join us as we debate how both can help reduce inequalities.
In 2019, the UN reported that one in five people in the UK were living in poverty – that’s 14 million people. Meanwhile, the number of billionaires in the UK has risen sixfold in the last decade. This is indicative of the relatively high levels of economic inequality in the UK.
Austerity measures introduced in the wake of the financial crisis cut £30 billion off welfare provision, yet tax decreased for the richest people and companies. Corporation tax fell from 28% to 19%, and Income tax for the highest bracket fell from 50% to 45% in 2020.
It’s the young and the poorest who have felt the pinch and, around the world, this has led to increased dissatisfaction with democracy in countries with high levels of inequality. 55% of millennials around the world are dissatisfied with what democracy has to offer, and alternative political solutions are bringing with it greater instability and unrest.
That said, in the UK, there has been a significant increase in philanthropic giving – the £4 billion given in 2020 was a 36% rise on the previous year. So, is the answer to improving lives more taxation, or is there still a role for philanthropy?
Join us for a timely discussion that will focus on the benefits of taxation versus the role of philanthropy.
Stephanie Brobbey is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Good Ancestor Movement. She qualified as a private wealth lawyer in 2011 and practised at a law firm in the City of London for a decade. Stephanie gained an outstanding reputation in the private wealth industry and was named one of eprivateclient’s Top 35 Under 35 in 2020 and 2018. She was also listed as a Rising Star in the tax and trust category of the Spear’s indices 2019 and was named in the Spear’s 500 as a recommended tax and trust lawyer in 2020. Shortly before leaving private practice, Stephanie was ranked as an ‘Associate to Watch’ in Chambers & Partners High Net Worth Guide 2021. In September 2021 Stephanie launched the Good Ancestor Movement, a social purpose business which exists to disrupt the mainstream wealth advisory industry by challenging traditional ideas around the economy, excessive wealth accumulation and tax minimisation. The Good Ancestor Movement supports wealthy individuals, families and charitable foundations with progressive wealth stewardship and radical redistribution.
Arun Advani is Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Warwick and a Commissioner at the Wealth Tax Commission. He is also a Research Fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, a Visiting Fellow at the International Inequalities Institute, Research Associate of the CAGE Research Centre, Inequalities theme leader at the Warwick Brain Behaviour and Society GRP, and a member of the Skills and Productivity Boar. He studies issues of inequality, tax compliance, and tax design, with a focus on those with high incomes or wealth. He also works on issues of environmental taxation, economic development, migration, and tax in low- and middle-income countries. Arun is co-chair of the Discover Economics campaign, aiming to increase the diversity of people who study and work in economics. He is also on the Editorial Board of the Economics Observatory.
Gary Stevenson is an Inequality Economist, former interest rate trader and member of Patriotic Millionaires UK: Partners In Progress. In 2011 he became Citibank’s most profitable trader globally by correctly predicting that the aftereffects of the 2008 crisis would lead to a long term stagnation in interest rates and a rapid rise in asset values. In 2014 he retired, at 27, to study economics and inequality at Oxford University. He is currently working on economic models of inequality, wages and asset prices.
Stefan Wagstyl is the Wealth & Money Editor at the Financial Times (FT). Stefan joined the Financial Times in 1983 as a financial reporter and has held a variety of other positions since then. After serving as metals and mining correspondent, he moved to Japan to be Tokyo correspondent and bureau chief from 1987 to 1992. He then went to New Delhi as bureau chief from 1992 to 1995, returning to London to be industrial editor from 1996 and East Europe editor from 1998 until his promotion to emerging markets editor in March 2010. He became Berlin bureau chief 2013-2017, opinion editor of the Nikkei Asian Review 2017-19, then FT wealth editor 2019 to date and FT Money editor 2020 to date.
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