Today Rotherham will join 40 other local authorities across the UK in becoming a Fair Tax Council and the first in South Yorkshire to come on board, following a motion brought by Labour councillors.
The Councils for Fair Tax Declaration commits cities, towns and districts to doing the right thing in their own tax affairs, requiring greater transparency from suppliers and joining calls for rules to change so that they can do more to tackle tax avoidance when buying goods and services from supplier businesses.
Councillor Chris Read, Labour Leader of Rotherham MBC said: “At a time when the Conservatives are intent on once again cutting local public services, it’s more important than ever that companies play by the rules and meet their tax obligations. That’s why we want Rotherham to be a ‘fair tax’ council, doing what we can to encourage suppliers and contractors to pay their fair share, and demonstrating good practice in, for example, the council’s purchase of land or properties. But we also need the government to go further, strengthening the law so that councils like ours can uphold higher standards from the companies we work with, so we can both help ensure our public services are properly funded, and ease the tax pressures on ordinary working people.”
Labour Councillor Tony Griffin will second the motion at today’s meeting.
Polling commissioned from ICM by the Fair Tax Foundation found that two-thirds (66%) of the public agree that the Government and local councils should consider a company’s ethics and how they pay their tax as well as value for money and quality of service provided, when undertaking procurement.
The UK as a whole is estimated to lose around £17bn in corporation tax receipts every year as a result of multinational profit shifting alone. Aggressive tax avoidance negatively distorts national and local economies and reduces contributions that support vital public services on which we all rely.
Mary Patel, Networks Manager at the Fair Tax Foundation said:
“We’re delighted to see Rotherham Council standing up for responsible tax conduct by supporting the Councils for Fair Tax Declaration.
“Together with our Fair Tax Councils, we are calling on the UK Government to change the rules so local councils and other public bodies can reward supplier businesses that pay tax fairly and transparently. Alongside this, it’s vital that Government presses ahead with planned reforms to the UK’s corporate registration service, to drive down fraud and dirty money and enable a more trusted and efficient business marketplace to evolve.”