London leaders line up to champion UK Fair Tax Councils Declaration

The past two years have seen a surge in support for the Councils for Fair Tax Declaration across Greater London, with Hackney Council and Mayor Sadiq Khan the latest to give their backing. It puts Greater London further into pole position as the UK’s number one regional municipal champion of responsible tax conduct.

More than a third of London boroughs are now Fair Tax Councils

Hackney councillors are the latest London public leaders to vote through a motion supporting the Councils for Fair Tax Declaration. The motion, proposed by Green Councillors Alaistair Binnie-Lubbock and Zoe Garbett, called on Hackney to lead by example on its own tax conduct, and join calls for UK public procurement rules to change so that councils can do more to reward responsible tax conduct among supplier businesses.

Cllr Binnie-Lubbock said: “Although tax evasion is illegal – there are, unfortunately, many legal ways for corporations to avoid paying their fair share of tax. But as a council we can intervene, using the levers available to us.”

Cllr Garbett added: “I hope we will now see the Fair Tax Mark become as widespread as fairtrade.”

A total of 10 London boroughs have backed the Councils for Fair Tax Declaration in the past 24 months alone, bringing the total number of Fair Tax Councils across the city to 13 – which is more than a third of all London councils. Collectively, these public authorities spend in excess of £15bn each year with external suppliers. London boroughs signed up as Fair Tax Councils are Greenwich, Lambeth, Southwark, Richmond upon Thames, Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham, Barnet, Brent, Haringey, Enfield, Hounslow and Hackney, as well as the Greater London Authority.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan gets behind the Councils for Fair Tax Declaration

Mayor Sadiq Khan, responding to a successful cross-party motion led by London Assembly Member Zack Polanski, gave his backing at Mayor’s question time, saying: “I wholeheartedly share the Assembly’s belief in the importance of organisations paying the correct amount of tax. I am committed to working towards tax equity in London. I continue to lead by example through using my Responsible Procurement Policy to promote good practice through our supply chain.

“My officials recently met the Fair Tax Foundation, who campaign for fair tax nationally, to discuss their work in more detail and I support the principles in the [Councils for Fair Tax] Declaration.”

The original cross-party motion, put forward by Green Assembly Member Zack Polanski and seconded by Labour & Co-operative Assembly Member Len Duvall, received unanimous support from Labour, Conservative, Green and Liberal Democrat Assembly Members.

Public demand

Individuals want to see councils back ethical procurement and reward businesses paying their fair share of tax. Previously, the Institute of Business Ethics has roundly demonstrated that ’corporate tax avoidance’ is the country’s number one concern when it comes to corporate conduct. It topped the UK public’s list of concerns for an astounding 10th consecutive year in 2022.

The Fair Tax Foundation’s most recent UK public polling finds that voters from across the political spectrum believe 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 awarding contracts to companies. This is why we’ve been calling for reform of the UK’s procurement rules.

Visit our Councils for Fair Tax page to find out how to support fair tax in your local area.

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