Today, Tuesday 5 July 2022, a Labour motion committing Reading Borough Council to signing the Fair Tax Declaration was passed unanimously by councillors at a meeting of full Council.
Proposing the motion at the meeting, Alice Mpofu-Coles, Labour Councillor for Whitley and Chair of the Council’s Adult Social Care, Children’s Services and Education Committee, said:
“Fair Tax is not only about paying the tax but also about making sure that tax policies, planning, and procurement are in place to reduce tax avoidance so that there is a fair redistribution that reaches where it is most needed in our society to create better opportunities. Unfortunately, system has made wealthy individuals and companies richer by allowing the investment of profits in offshore accounts to avoid tax. The UK has £17 billion per annum in lost corporation tax revenues. Action for Children states that, even before the pandemic, 4.3 million children were living in poverty in the UK – up 500,000 over the past five years, totalling 31% of children.
“In 2019-20 in Reading East, 5,072 children were in poverty, and in Reading West, 6,267 children were in poverty.
“The current Tory government has been discordant in the way they are tackling tax loopholes, as many of their ‘cronies’ benefit from tax havens. Taxation is pushed higher for hard-working people, and those already disenfranchised in our society have been harshly affected by the economy. Their quality of life is getting worse.
“Hard-working families are feeling the pinch with rising gas prices and food, yet they are told to pay more taxes by the Tory Government even after unscrupulous contracts were awarded during the Covid pandemic. Labour is calling for contracting to have greater transparency, accountability, and ethical sourcing. As a Council, we should call upon the current UK government to push for a robust procurement law that does not continue to benefit those who are rich and leaves the rest struggling even to be able to meet their needs.”
Seconding the motion, Jacopo Lanzoni, Labour Councillor for Caversham, said:
“It goes without saying that everyone should contribute to the cost of the services they benefit from. And you all will agree with me – I believe – in saying that this applies to each legal entity: not only individuals, but also businesses.
“Businesses in fact benefit from public services in a way which is different and additional to the way their employees and directors do.
“If fair taxation is at the core of our country, then this has to change. This has to change now. To keep our country together, to keep delivering good public services.
“If we want taxes to be low for everyone, we need everyone – also large corporations – to pay their fair share of taxes.
“I want Reading Borough Council to be at the front of this change.”
1. The text of the motion can be found on the Council meeting agenda (5th July 2022) here: https://democracy.reading.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=136&MId=4826.
2. The Councils for Fair Tax Declaration is an initiative of the Fair Tax Foundation: https://fairtaxmark.net/supporters/councils-for-fair-tax/.
3. See previous release announcing the motion here: https://readinglabour.org.uk/reading-labour-councillors-push-forward-fair-tax-declaration/.