Good news! Christian Aid’s Sourced campaign – calling for local councils to take a stricter stance with companies over their tax practices – has had a breakthrough.
Local councils spend billions of pounds on goods and services ‘sourced’ from big, private companies. Tax dodging by some companies and individuals denies developing countries billions of dollars in revenue each year.
Our Sourced campaign, which began in January 2016, called for councils to ask more questions about each company’s tax record when deciding which ones to use. We wanted the councils to adopt an optional central government policy, which includes a detailed questionnaire about companies’ tax records.
During the campaign, more than 1,000 supporters in England and Northern Ireland contacted their local councillors to get them on board. As a result, at least 15 local authorities decided to make the change we suggested to their procurement policies – including large city councils such as Manchester, Salford, Birmingham and Belfast. We were delighted when the Northern Ireland Assembly then followed suit in the summer of 2016.
Following this growing pressure, we’re pleased to announce that the UK government has now made it compulsory for local councils to follow this tougher vetting process when buying goods and services from companies.
A better deal for developing countries
This greater scrutiny of companies’ tax affairs will prompt businesses to adopt more responsible tax practices – both in the UK and in the world’s poorest countries. In time, this will help developing countries to collect more money from tax, which can then be spent on essential services, including health, education and infrastructure.
Some councillors might not yet know about the change, so please share the good news with them!
You could also ask them to press your council to publish a yearly report, detailing companies’ compliance with the questions, and listing any companies barred from bidding for council contracts on the grounds of tax compliance. Annual reporting isn’t a requirement of the new regulations, but some councils have agreed to do this voluntarily as a result of our campaign.
Here’s a suggested letter to send to your councillor.
Thanks for taking action!