Church and charity leaders call for tax justice during Covid-19 pandemic

(Photo: Unsplash/Marcin Nowak)

Church and charity leaders have called for a fairer tax regime in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The call to the Government came in an open letter published in The Times following moves by Denmark, Poland and France to refuse bailouts for corporations registered in tax havens. 

The letter urges the UK Government to do the same to companies that "continue to avoid responsibility, making huge profits yet hiding their wealth in tax havens".

Signatories of the letter include the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, the President of the Methodist Conference, Rev Dr Barbara Glasson, the Moderator of the Baptist Union Council, Rev David Mayne, and the Chair of Church Action for Tax Justice, David Haslam.

"We welcome the decisions of the Danish, Polish and French governments to refuse corporate bailouts for corporations registered in tax havens," they write.

"The current crisis has shown the importance of our health and social security systems – and the taxes that pay for them year in and year out.

"However, many of the most vulnerable people in our society are paying the price for a health and welfare system woefully unprepared for an epidemic.

"Meanwhile, some large corporations continue to avoid responsibility, making huge profits yet hiding their wealth in tax havens." 

They go on to say that tax avoidance is depriving developing countries of up to $400bn in revenue at a time when they "face problems from Covid-19 on a scale unimaginable in the richer nations". 

The letter ends by asking the Government to reform the tax system so that it no longer "favours the excessive individual and corporate wealth of some, but serves the common good of all". 

"When the pandemic ends we cannot go back to business as usual," they say.

"If we are to build an economic system which prioritises the wellbeing of people and the planet then a fair tax system where all, including powerful corporations and wealthy individuals, pay their fair share is essential.

"Specifically, this means that wages and working conditions are just and that we have a tax system in which big corporations and wealthy individuals can no longer dodge the taxes they should have paid."