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North East on board for tax justice

Supporters greet the Tax Bus at Sunderland Minster12 October 2012

Between 6 and 8 October 2012 the Tax Justice Bus toured the North East, with over 400 supporters getting on board in Hexham, Newcastle, Durham, Gateshead, Sunderland and Redcar to hear about the impact of tax dodging on the poor.

Local MPs, regional church leaders, mayors and councillors attracted attention from the press and radio and added their voices to the call for greater transparency in taxation. 


'Tax dodging perpetuates poverty'

Around the region, Christian Aid and Church Action on Poverty representatives spoke passionately from their own experience of how poor people in the North East and overseas are suffering the effects of unscrupulous and immoral tax-dodging by multinational companies.

Global perspective

Dereje Alemayehu, head of Christian Aid East African Division and chair of the Tax Justice Network Africa was able to provide a global perspective for audiences.

He explained how the $160 billion lost to poor countries through tax dodging could pay for essential services like schools and hospitals. ‘Tax dodging is not perceived as a crime like it should be. Tax dodging perpetuates poverty,’ he asserted. 

Newcastle Central MP, Chi Onwurah, gets on board the Tax Bus at St Nicholas' CathedralMPs tick for tax justice

MPs turned out in force to support the Tax Justice Bus, responding with enthusiasm to the ‘Tick for Tax Justice’ campaign action.

Roberta Blackman-Woods, MP for Durham, and Ian Swales, MP for Redcar, stirred up considerable interest from the press and were interviewed for BBC Radio Newcastle and BBC Radio Tees respectively.

Newcastle MPs Catherine McKinnell and Chi Onwurah joined the panel discussion at St Nicholas’ Cathedral after the Sunday morning service.

‘Paying your taxes is not just a legal issue,’ contributed Ms Onwurah. ‘It’s a moral and social justice issue, and more people and companies need to realise that!’

'Change the opinion of the opinion shapers'

At Sunderland Minster Sharon Hodgson, Washington and Sunderland West MP, challenged members of the public to campaign to: ‘Change the opinion of the opinion shapers’.

Church and civic leaders, university authorities and student officers, together with hundreds of supporters, responded by sending a message to David Cameron, urging the prime minister to take a global lead in the push for greater transparency in taxation.

Get involved

If you missed the bus, it’s not too late to get on board with the tax justice campaign:

• Read about our Trace the Tax campaign

• Take our Tick for Tax Justice campaign action

Photo of Chi Onwurah MP courtesy of: Charles Martin 

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How we can help 

Your local Christian Aid team is on hand to:

- provide speakers
- run workshops
- provide resources
- promote your event
- offer advice & support

Contact your local office to find out more.