Church leaders call on George Osborne to end immoral tax avoidance
The event marked the launch of our campaign call for Fair Taxes.
The open letter, coordinated by Church Action on Poverty, was also published in the Daily Telegraph. It makes clear that record levels of inequality are "tearing at the fabric of society… ... increasing numbers of individuals and communities feel that they have no stake in wider society and have no realistic hope of their children bettering themselves... In an age of austerity and spending cuts, we believe that tax avoidance is morally unacceptable and tax evasion has to be seriously addressed. Tackling these issues will reduce the need for further damaging cuts in public spending."
The letter has been signed by nine church leaders and was handed in to the Treasury by representatives of five different denominations and organisations.
Niall Cooper, National Coordinator of Church Action on Poverty, said:
"The signatories to the open letter to the Chancellor today have sent a clear message, that as leaders of Christian churches in this country, they are taking a stand on the side of the poor and the vulnerable. Aside from wider debates about the role of the City of London in the nation's life, the scale of tax avoidance practised by many of the UK's biggest companies is morally unacceptable, and it is time for the churches, politicians and society at large to say these practices must stop."
The letter calls for specific action by the Chancellor to close a VAT loophole, not to proceed with draft proposals on Controlled Foreign Companies, and to consider a General Anti-Avoidance Rule. You can read the full text online.