News Release

 
News release
 
18 April 2018

“Reforms are urgent, now is the time for tough action”: Dame Margaret Hodge

Christian leaders united in the House of Lords on Tuesday 17 April to challenge government inactivity on tax justice reforms and to demand immediate tough action. Launching “Church Action for Tax Justice” (CAT), President-Designate of the Methodist Conference, the Revd Michaela A Youngson, joined Lords Rowan Williams and Richard Harries, Dame Margaret Hodge and Quaker Leader Paul Parker to demand an end to corporate tax evasion, greater transparency and a change to the negative narrative around tax.

 

In her speech to a packed committee room, the Revd Youngson said: “I hope we can shift the narrative around tax away from it being a dirty word, or a necessary evil, but rather a blessing and a means of all citizens having a stake in a generous society that cares for all.” Dr Rowan Williams talked about an “unquenchable thirst for more” in the corporate sector (referencing the name of the Christian Aid report), a “wilful blindness” amongst policy makers and how tax should not be “an us and them but a recognition of shared goals and mutuality”.

 

Opening the meeting, Dame Margaret Hodge, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Responsible Tax, congratulated the new initiative, saying: “there has never been a more important time than today to address issues of tax justice...this is not anti-business but pro fairness…Reforms are urgent, now is the time for tough action.”

                 

CAT will seek to inspire all Churches about the urgency of creating fairer and more effective tax systems to fund healthier public services, both in the UK and internationally.
 

Dr Rowan Williams, the Chair of the Christian Aid Board, said: “The creation of this new Church-wide movement is timely. Many of the world’s largest companies seem to have forgotten that they have moral duties, as well as legal ones. They must support human flourishing, not least by paying their fair share of taxes in all the countries where they do business - and being fully transparent about the relevant data.”

          

Ending financial secrecy in UK tax havens like the British Virgin Islands is one of the reforms CAT will pursue, along with changes to the way large multinational companies are taxed.
 

In addition, the new campaign will call on Churches themselves to make more vigorous and vocal use of their power as investors in major companies.

         

CAT has developed out of the Methodist Tax Justice Network and seeks to be more ecumenical, embracing all Church denominations.

        

One recent sign of the success of the worldwide movement for tax justice has been the decision by Vodafone to publish its country-by-country reports from 2019 onwards. Christian Aid, the Tax Justice Network and others have long campaigned for major multinationals to publish such data, because it can throw up suspicious patterns that alert tax authorities and civil society to potential tax dodging. This, in turn, helps them to hold companies to account.

Notes:

 

David Haslam, the Secretary of Church Action for Tax Justice: Davidhaslam558@btinternet.com

Methodist Church: Paul Morrison, MorrisonP@methodistchurch.org.uk

Quakers: Anne van Staveren, Media Relations Officer, Quakers in Britain: 020 7663 1048 and 07958 009703 @mediaquaker

About the Methodist Church

 

The Methodist Church is one of the largest Christian churches serving Great Britain, with around 200,000 members and regular contact with nearly 500,000 people. It has 4,650 churches in Great Britain, and also maintains links with other Methodist churches with a worldwide total membership of over 80 million. Its activities, both alone and with ecumenical and secular partners, are based on four aims known as Our Calling:
•   To increase awareness of God's presence and to celebrate God's love
•   To help people to grow and learn as Christians through mutual support and care
•   To be a good neighbour to people in need and to challenge injustice
•   To make more followers of Jesus Christ.

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For more information contact:


Michael Ivatt
Lead Media Officer

Methodist Church House

25 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5JR

T 0207 467 5191

M 07881 783812

E ivattm@methodistchurch.org.uk



 

The Methodist Church  
Methodist Church House

25 Marylebone Road

London NW1 5JR

020 7486 5502 (General Enquiries)

www.methodist.org.uk

Registered charity no. 1132208