Tax Justice: A Growing Movement...

Paul Monaghan writes on the growing involvement and influence of Christians in the tax justice movement

At the Fair Tax Mark, we are delighted to be involved in the increasingly influential Church Action for Tax Justice (CATJ).

Last year, we worked together on a number of events, including the first ever Tax Justice Sunday and outreach with Andrew Mitchell MP on the need for who owns companies to be public across both the UK and its overseas territories and crown dependencies.

Fair Tax Mark Billboard Poster

This year, we’ll be working together on Fair Tax Mark Week (which will run from the 6th – 14th July) and Tax Justice Sunday (on the 7th July). We hope to see Fair Tax Week and Tax Justice Sunday become an established part of the calendar, just like Fairtrade Fortnight and Living Wage Week, where organisations that do the right thing when it comes to tax are not only recognised but celebrated.

 

Church Action for Tax Justice LogoCorporation Tax is often presented as a burden, but it shouldn’t be. Not when considered against the huge array of public services it helps fund - from education, health and social care, to flood defence, roads, policing and defence. It also plays a crucial role in holding the whole tax system together – helping to counter financial inequalities and rebalance distorted economies. It is estimated that £400bn of global corporate profits are shifted annually to tax havens, with corporate tax revenue losses in the UK of approximately £7bn per annum.

 

Fair Tax Week is a UK-wide celebration of the companies and organisations that are proud to pay their fair share of corporation tax, and an opportunity to explore the positive contribution this makes to society. The Fair Tax Mark scheme accredits businesses and organisations across the UK that are committed to paying the right amount of corporation tax at the right time and in the right place. It was launched in 2014 and some fifty businesses have now been certified, including FTSE-listed plcs, co-operatives, social enterprises and large private business – who between them have income of £50bn and over 6,500 offices and outlets. Fair Tax Mark accredited businesses include Lush, Richer Sounds, Timpson Group, Leeds Building Society, SSE and the Co-op.

 

As Revd David Haslam, of Church Action for Tax Justice, explains: “In rich and poor countries alike, it is far too easy for large companies and wealthy individuals to avoid paying their fair share of tax.  And, rather than celebrating tax as a powerful tool to create a more just society, tax is talked about in the negative – at best a burden to be minimized. Christians should love tax, it expresses that gratitude, sharing and justice which are the absolute heart of the Gospel. Fair Tax Week gives a real opportunity to bring this home to all people of faith, and Tax Justice Sunday especially to the whole Christian community.”

 

Fair Tax Mark Coffee MugFair Tax Week will be supported by a dedicated website that will detail Fair Tax and Tax Justice Sunday events across the UK. Organisations are encouraged to share the details of events they will be running at www.fairtaxmark.net/fairtaxweek2019. In 2018 groups did everything from hosting business breakfasts to introduce the Fair Tax Mark to their networks, to film screenings and panel debates.

 

Updates about Fair Tax Week 2019 and Tax Justice Sunday will be live on www.fairtaxmark.net/fairtaxweek2019 and via the @FairTaxMark twitter account, follow for more news and announcements. 

 

Paul was a co-founder of the Fair Tax Mark in 2014, and became Chief Executive in September 2017. He regularly lectures at various Business Schools and recently co-authored the well-received 'Lobbying for Good'. The rise and fall of Wigan Athletic keeps him awake at night.

David Haslam is a Methodist minister, social justice campaigner and Christians on the Left member. He recounts his varied experiences in his book "A Luta Continua" (The Struggle Continues) "Memoir of a sometimes radical Christian".

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