The head of the United Nations has urged governments to impose a “solidarity or wealth tax” on rich people who profited during the coronavirus pandemic.
UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said the new tax scheme would help slash extreme inequality.
“We must make sure funds go where they are needed most. Latest reports indicate that there has been a $5 trillion surge in the wealth of the world’s richest in the past year,” Guterres told a UN meeting on financing for development.
“I urge governments to consider a solidarity or wealth tax on those who have profited during the pandemic, to reduce extreme inequalities,” he added.
Guterres said G20 nations and emerging powers “need to go beyond debt relief” to help their economies recover from the fallout of the pandemic.
“We urgently need to strengthen the international debt architecture to end the deadly cycles of debt waves, global debt crises and lost decades,” he said.
Wealth taxes have been mooted for decades in the UK as a bid to narrow inequality.
An Ipsos Mori poll last October found that more Britons would prefer a tax on the wealthy over any other type of tax proposal.
The Biden administration is planning the first major tax hike in the US almost 30 years, which is set to include higher taxes on Americans earning more than $400,000. Meanwhile, Argentina has already agreed to introduce a one-off levy on the wealthy.
It comes after several billionaires around the world saw their net worth skyrocket during the pandemic as they cashed in on new consumer habits and products.
Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos saw his net worth catapult by $73bn between mid-March and mid-September last year, according to a report by US think tank the Institute for Policy Studies.
Meanwhile, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla boss Elon Musk each enjoyed net worth increases of more than $45bn over the same period.