Why does the Magna Carta rebellion feel so familiar?

Michelle McGagh
Britain Mortgages
Britain Mortgages



The 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta marked the point at which barons got a better tax deal for themselves and that deal has certainly endured.

Back in 1215, the landed barons were annoyed at how much the king was taxing them and decided to take over London to force Richard the Lionheart to negotiate with him. He did and the barons successfully introduced the principle of no taxation without representation.

The wealthy using their muscle to get a better deal for themselves is something that has persisted until today. You could swap the word 'king' for 'chancellor' and the word 'baron' with any number of wealthy sectors of society, such as buy-to-let landlords, multinational companies and non-doms, you can see that a small minority is still working the tax system in their favour.

I'm sure the masses would agree that the tax breaks given to buy-to-let landlords who can offset their mortgage interest against their tax bill, multinationals which can base themselves here but siphon profits offshore, and non-doms who can pay a set annual tax charge rather than pay full tax, are far too generous.

Equal representation

The idea of no taxation without representation is working for the wealthy but it could be argued that it is not working for those who are lower down the income scale, who don't feel that they have a voice or are being represented.

You don't have to look far to find austerity marches and people occupying property to protest about the high cost of renting, especially in the capital.

It seems that if you're not part of the elite then you're probably unhappy about one of the following: the amount of money you're paying into the system, the amount others aren't paying in or what your tax money is being spent on.

The anniversary of the Magna Carta should be a chance to marvel at how far we have come as a society but it feels that we still have someway to go. Eight hundred years ago it was the barons fighting the elite, now the barons have joined them and there is still a large swathe of people fighting to be heard, people who are definitely paying tax but with, what they feel, is little representation.

This historic anniversary reminds us that further changes still need to be made in order to ensure fair taxation applies to all.

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