27 January 2016
Christian Aid targets tax dodgers
Christian Aid: councils needs to get tough with tax dodgers
Local authorities should start asking tough questions of contracted suppliers who dodge tax, Christian Aid claims.
The charity is calling on Christians to lobby local councils to investigate company tax records.
With £45 billion a year being spent by councils on goods and services, the new campaign is urging councils to ask potential suppliers detailed questions about their tax history.
They believe that councils have significant influence over their suppliers.
Helen Collinson, senior public advocacy adviser for Christian Aid, said: "The prospect of losing a multi-million pound contract is likely to concentrate some companies' minds and make them think harder about whether to dodge tax, here or in a developing country."
While local authorities already have legal powers to ask detailed questions of potential suppliers about whether they have been found guilty of tax evasion or improperly avoiding tax in the UK or other countries, they don't have to do so, unlike central government departments.
Ms Collinson added: "Our new campaign asks people to get their local councils to use their legal powers – and to discriminate in favour of firms with better tax records. We hope that this will help push companies that supply local authorities to pay their taxes around the world.
"When companies use accounting tricks to pay less tax, there is less funding for public services at local and national level, including for schools and health services."
Christian Aid has written to 15,000 of its supporters, encouraging them to ask their local council to use its legal powers to ask detailed companies about potential suppliers' tax records.
You can find out more about the work Christian Aid are doing on their website.