Make London a Fair Tax City - a guest blog from the Fair Tax Foundation

Mary Patel, Networks Manager at the Fair Tax Foundation calls on London residents to get behind the new Councils for Fair Tax campaign:

Londoners can help put fair tax at the heart of our capital city

Dodgy tax practices and unfair competition – from corporation tax avoidance to hiding assets offshore  – worsen inequality in London and hit the poorest hardest. Solutions can feel far from reach, closely guarded by experts and officials with few confident to challenge them. We can campaign together to overcome this, lending your voice as London citizens to our local tax justice campaign.

As demonstrated by the Living Wage and Fairtrade movements, action by local campaigners can lead to progressive changes in the way that business and the public sector operate. At the beginning of June we’ll be launching a local fair tax campaign platform, making it easy for you to call on your local councillor to back tax justice via our Councils for Fair Tax Declaration.

20 local councils across the UK have already signed up to the Declaration, committing to lead by example on their own tax conduct, encouraging responsible tax and challenging the ‘bad’. We’re now seeing more businesses ask us about fair tax as a result. Across London, Greenwich and Lambeth Council have lead the way and signed up to the Declaration, but we need many more on board if we’re to send a strong message to supplier businesses that fair tax matters. This is where we need your support in emailing your local councillor, to show that London residents back action on tax justice.

For anyone concerned with London’s inequality challenges, the need for greater fairness in how taxes are designed and paid won’t be a new idea. The UK as a whole is estimated to lose around £17bn in corporation tax receipts as a result of multinational profit shifting alone. This impacts on support for London’s vital public services from bin collections to public transport, council leisure centres to social care. Backing fair tax will help London celebrate the positive contribution our capital city makes to the whole of the UK, and show that the city stands up for an issue that people care about across the country.

Alongside London's local councils, we need more London-based responsible businesses paying their fair share, reporting transparently on tax & profits for the benefit of residents and the whole country: London leading the way as a national and global business hub. Our Fair Tax Mark accreditation scheme recognises businesses that pay tax responsibly and transparently. In London, accredited businesses already include a wide variety of firms, from social enterprise Clean for Good, to the international construction firm behind the Olympic park and the Shard, Mace, and ethical investment manager Epworth. These and many more are proud to pay the right amount of tax and report transparently on profits, taxes and who benefits from the business.

Fair tax cuts through to London’s dirty money problem too, as good tax conduct is about knowing who owns and controls a business, as well as how profits are made and taxes paid. This transparency reduces the risk of not just tax evasion but corruption and fraud as well - tools to help tackle the ‘Londongrad’ problem, alongside proposed new economic crime laws.

The London Councils for Fair Tax campaign will launch during Fair Tax Week (11-19 June) in collaboration with Tax Justice UK. My Fair London supporters can join us at an Equality Trust online event on the evening of Monday 13th June to explore further.

Follow us on Twitter @FairTaxMark or sign up to our newsletter to stay up to date with the latest fair tax news.

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  • Alex Bax