Taxing wealth: A historical perspective

Martin Chick

Wealth and Policy, Working Paper 121

30 Oct 2020

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This paper considers lessons from the past one hundred years of attempts to tax wealth in the UK. I start with the calls for a levy on capital made during and after the First World War, whose only supporter in Cabinet was Winston Churchill. I then discuss the perspective of major thinkers including John Maynard Keynes, Nicholas Kaldor, and the members of the Meade Committee, on the taxation of wealth. I also document various attempts at reform of taxes on estates and gifts, development gains, and owner-occupied property through the twentieth century. Finally, I reflect on lessons for the present day, drawn from these experiences.

DOI: 10.47445/121
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