Our Letter in The Times
This morning The Times newspaper printed a letter we had drafted calling on the government to pursue a fairer tax regime in light of the covid-19 epidemic. The original text of the letter and its signatories are reproduced here:
We welcome the decisions of the Danish, Polish and French governments to refuse corporate bailouts for corporations registered in tax havens. The current crisis has shown the importance of our health and social security systems – and the taxes that pay for them year in and year out.
However, many of the most vulnerable people in our society are paying the price for a health and welfare system woefully unprepared for an epidemic. Meanwhile, some large corporations continue to avoid responsibility, making huge profits yet hiding their wealth in tax havens.
Over 80% of the British public believe that legal tax avoidance is morally wrong. This crisis demonstrates why they are right.
Today at least $8tn sits offshore, with its wealthy owners hiding from their tax and social responsibilities. Developing countries, who face problems from COVID-19 on a scale unimaginable in the richer nations, are deprived up to $400bn every year by tax avoidance.
When the pandemic ends we cannot go back to business as usual. If we are to build an economic system which prioritises the wellbeing of people and the planet then a fair tax system where all, including powerful corporations and wealthy individuals, pay their fair share is essential.
Specifically, this means that wages and working conditions are just and that we have a tax system in which big corporations and wealthy individuals can no longer dodge the taxes they should have paid.
We call on our Government to foster such a fair tax system that no longer only favours the excessive individual and corporate wealth of some, but serves the common good of all.
Lord Rowan Williams – former Archbishop of Canterbury
Lord Richard Harries – former Bishop of Oxford
Revd Dr Barbara Glasson, President of the Methodist Conference
Rev. David Mayne - Moderator, the Baptist Union Council
Paul Parker – Recording Clerk, Quakers in Britain
Mr Derek Estill, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church
Revd Nigel Uden, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church
David Haslam, Chair, Church Action for Tax Justice
The letter has been picked up and commented on by the following news outlets:
Dr Justin Thacker is the National Coordinator for Church Action for Tax Justice