Church Action for Tax Justice has this week launched a new campaign for fairer national and global tax systems.
The Fair Tax Now campaign tells the stories of individuals who have been impacted by our unjust tax systems. In the process, it highlights a range of policy proposals that are designed to make our tax system fairer for all.
There are many different ways in which our present tax systems are unfair. This campaign is based around a series of videos which enables individuals who have been at the sharp end of these injustices to tell of their own experiences.
It highlights Jo, a nurse in the NHS, who along with her colleagues is struggling with the impact of covid. While nurses like Jo put themselves on the line for the rest of us it seems unfair that they are taxed at a higher rate than the average person earning £10 million per year. The campaign tells the story of Andy and Sarah who while earning just above minimum wage paid almost 10% of their income on Council Tax. One day, a bailiff appeared at their door and began to take an inventory of their goods. It made Andy feel like a failure. Their experience contrasts starkly with the richest in our society who pay just 1% of their income in Council Tax. This is just one of the injustices of the current Council Tax system that, according to Citizens Advice, creates the most frequent debt problem in the UK. It also draws attention to the copper rich nation of Zambia who in 2013 lost $1 billion of tax revenue that should have been paid by a collection of multinational corporations. If that revenue had been received, it could have addressed almost a quarter of Zambia’s debt or been used to double its spending on healthcare or education, and in the process saved thousands of lives.
The campaign is asking people to write to their MPs to call for the following changes to the tax system:
- Tax Income Equally – combine Income Tax, National Insurance and Capital Gains Tax into a single progressive tax with a single allowance.
- Reform Council Tax – we suggest it should be replaced either with a proportionate property tax or a land value tax.
- Tax Wealth Effectively –such a tax could exclude pensions and people’s main homes, but tax net wealth (possibly on an annual basis above a threshold of £1 million) at an appropriate rate.
- Stop The Dodging – tighten the legislation to close the loopholes and in particular properly resource HMRC and Companies House so they are able to enforce those rules
- Ensure fairer Global Tax Rules – prioritise the needs of lower income countries in the global tax negotiations that are currently taking place
Writing in support of the campaign, Dr Rowan Williams (former Archbishop of Canterbury) said:
As we start to look forward to life after Covid, it’s very clear that we are going to need a more open and equitable tax system. We have seen how the pandemic has exacerbated inequalities, creating further disadvantage for people already burdened by poverty and anxiety. A responsible society will use its taxes to tackle this situation with vigour, and I hope and pray that this campaign by Church Action for Tax Justice will persuade our government of the urgent need to move towards a fairer taxation regime and a more secure and generous social climate.
Similarly, Lord Harries of Pentregarth, +Richard Harries said:
Tax systems should be fair, efficient and transparent. Our present national and global ones are far from that. Therefore, I support Church Action for Tax Justice in their efforts to tell the stories of those impacted by unfair taxes and in their proposals for how we could create a more just tax settlement for all.
And Revd Richard Teal, President of the Methodist Conference said:
John Wesley once said that the reason some do not have compassion for others is because “they keep out of the way of knowing and then plead their voluntary ignorance”. In this campaign, Church Action for Tax Justice are trying to ensure we do know – in particular, that we know how global tax rules set by wealthier countries deprive the global south of hundreds of billions of dollars a year. This is money that could have been used to double spending on health or education or wipe out a quarter of their total debt, as in the case of the story from Zambia shared in this campaign. It is right that Methodists, alongside other churches and Christians, should call for fair tax now.
For further information watch our FTN trailer below or contact us via: