Greggs’ former boss says richer people like him should pay more in taxes

The former chairman of the North East Greggs bakery chain has called on the government to tax wealthy people like him in a bid to ease some of the divisions in UK society.

Ian Gregg, who retired 20 years ago as president of the company started by his father John, helped instill the social values ​​that remain in the company through the formation of the Greggs Foundation. He no longer has any role in the company, but speaking in a personal capacity, he said the backlash to tax cuts during Liz Truss’s ill-fated tenure showed there was an appetite for putting higher taxes for the wealthy on the political agenda.

Mr Gregg’s comments came after the ill-fated “mini-budget” introduced by then-foreign minister Kwasi Kwarteng, which cut the tax rate for big earners. Although those changes have since been reversed under current Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, Gregg thinks even modest increases in tax rates for wealthy people would be the right thing to do.

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He said: “The way I see it is there has been a polarization of wealth, the richest have gotten richer, even during Covid when everyone else suffered. Now we are in a perfect storm of crisis with huge levels of debt and the cost of living crisis, the average people in this country are really suffering.

“It seems to me that, in that situation, those who can afford it should pay more to get the country out of the mess it is in. The other thing that I feel very strongly is that I really don’t want to live in a country. nor do I want this for my children and grandchildren, where there is so much restlessness and unhappiness.

“There is a growing frustration that is beginning to manifest itself through the strikes and I understand that action is taken by people who cannot make ends meet. When other people walk away with big bonuses and aren’t affected by them, it seems wrong.

“I prefer to pay a little more in taxes and live in a society that has better values ​​and where people are happier. I don’t see how we will get out of this crisis unless we work together, but we don’t.

“There is a lot of division and a feeling of injustice. Unless that is addressed, it will be much more difficult to get the country back on track.”

Mr Gregg, who joined his family’s business as a child and helped lead its growth to go public and become a high street presence across the UK, said he had received the support from other wealthy people since he first floated his ideas on tax increases. for the better. He backed the work of groups like Tax Justice UK and the Patriotic Millionaires, who campaign for a fairer tax system and greater levels of equality.

During her time with the company, she launched the first Greggs Breakfast Club and supported the annual Children’s Cancer Run in Newcastle. The company has continued that social mission after his retirement, and last year he launched his Greggs Pledge, a 10-point plan to make the world a better place.

Gregg said he was “very proud” of how the company had developed in recent years.

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