Dear (insert the name of your councillor here),
Re: Councils’ role in tackling tax dodging – good news
I contacted you a few months ago on behalf of Christian Aid about a change I wanted (insert the name of your council) to make to its procedure for buying goods and services.
I’d like to thank you for engaging with Christian Aid’s Sourced campaign and to let you know about an important step taken by central government.
I asked you if you could persuade your council to help check that the companies bidding for council contracts are paying the taxes they owe – to tackle the widespread problem of corporate tax dodging.
When companies avoid paying tax, they harm public services, often hitting the poorest people hardest, both in the UK and in developing countries. That’s why Christian Aid called on your council to send a strong message to companies that tax dodging will not be tolerated – especially when the public purse is footing the bill.
Specifically, we asked your council to adopt Section 4 of the 2015 Public Contract Regulations (formerly Procurement Policy Note 03/14), which contains a detailed set of questions to ask companies about their tax affairs. Under the questionnaire, companies must declare if any tax authority has found them to have submitted an incorrect tax return.
Until recently, these questions were compulsory for central government contracts worth more than £5m, but optional for local council contracts. We asked you to make these optional questions a compulsory part of the procurement process of your local council.
The good news is that across England and Northern Ireland, around 60 councils actively considered and debated this proposed change to their procurement policies and at least 15 councils decided to make this change in response to Christian Aid’s campaign.
The even better news is that central government has now made the answering of this questionnaire compulsory for all public contracts with a value above a certain amount.
Following this success, Christian Aid’s Sourced campaign can now be wound down.
However, if you would like to pursue the matter further, we recommend that you call on your council to report publicly each year on the implementation of the more detailed tax questions and the tax compliance of the companies bidding for council contracts.
If you would like more help with this, please email: email@example.com
Thanks again for your interest in Christian Aid’s Sourced campaign. For more information about our work, please go to christianaid.org.uk