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One minute with... Carla Hoppe

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What’s keeping you busy at work?

Right now, I’m busy working to establish a strong community and brand recognition for Rethink Tax: a new platform aimed at teaching young people why tax matters and how they can get involved in the future of tax. The platform is dedicated to increasing tax literacy for 16–24 year olds. The challenge is to create content that makes young people stop, like and want to learn more. My approach involves collaborating with well-known names in the tax community, a sprinkling of memes to bring the issues to life, and lots of reviewing by my younger sisters and their friends.

If you could make one change to tax, what would it be?

I would like to make tax changes to help tackle intergenerational inequality. In 2019, the House of Lords Select Committee produced a damning report on the impact of consecutive governments’ tax policies on widening the economic attainment gap between the generations. The covid pandemic has exacerbated this problem. The social contract between generations needs supporting with a commitment to give young people the opportunity to do at least as well as previous generations.

While tax isn’t the best tool to address these challenges, there are ways in which tax reform could help. For instance, council tax needs reforming, as it currently benefits older, wealthier generations. For example, in 2020/21, renting a ‘band A’ studio flat in Hackney costs £1,007.78, whereas the owner of a £20m ‘band H’ property in Westminster pays £1,560.56.

We also need to review the funding for social care. I’d love to see a Citizens’ Assembly called, with input from across the political spectrum, to consider this issue. We need bold tax reforms to address this issue today, rather than leaving it for another day and another generation.

What should we look out for later this year?

With Budget day just around the corner, I am interested to see how the chancellor intends to grow the economy and increase employment, especially for younger people. The numbers of young people aged 18–24 on job seekers allowance or universal credit has doubled in the period March–June 2020. Young people are at higher risk of unemployment during covid, as they form a larger proportion of workers in the hospitality, leisure and travel sectors. The government’s ‘kickstart’ scheme has already started, but more should be done to encourage businesses to reinvest and rehire. A good start would be to adopt the ideas put forward by the CBI, by expanding the apprenticeship levy into a more general skills and training levy, and increasing the types of expenditure that qualify for R&D tax credits.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?

I would tell my younger self to treat each interaction as an opportunity to access an exclusive club – your professional network – and to invest in both making and maintaining relationships. At first, it might feel like it’s all one-way, but it will help you one day. Today, my network spans multiple time zones, organisations and industries. I’ve been overwhelmed by my network’s support for Rethink Tax. It’s not just the introductions and connections people are willing to make, but their insights and feedback too. Maintaining those relationships is an invaluable investment in your future.

Finally, you might not know this about me but ...

I love athletics, and each summer I go to the Anniversary Games at the Olympic Stadium. I once ran from my office to the Waterstones at Piccadilly Circus in order to meet Mo Farah. Unfortunately, I was too late, but I managed to persuade one of his aides to take the two children’s books he’d written backstage to get his signature. I probably shouldn’t have pretended that it was for my children (especially as I don’t have any!).

Issue: 1520
Categories: One minute with