Cheshire West and Chester Council commits to Councils for Fair Tax declaration

1 November 2021

At a recent Council meeting, councillors agreed to approve the Fair Tax Foundation’s Councils for Fair Tax Declaration.

The declaration commits cities, towns and districts to pursuing exemplary tax conduct in their affairs, require greater transparency from suppliers and join calls for more meaningful powers to tackle tax avoidance amongst suppliers when buying goods and services. 

Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of the Council, said: “We want to make it clear that Cheshire West and Chester Council strongly supports the principles of fair tax and wants to lead by example.  Local government has a proud history of standing up for responsible conduct and this declaration is another important step.”  

Cllr Carol Gahan, Cabinet Member for Finance, added: “Along with councils across the country, we continue to face financial pressures and fight to recover from the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.  This declaration reinforces the message that everyone needs to pay their fair share and we will be asking suppliers to be fully transparent in their financial reporting.”

The Fair Tax Foundation has developed the Councils for Fair Tax Declaration in collaboration with UK cities, towns and districts who believe that they can and should stand up for responsible tax conduct - doing what they can within existing frameworks and pledging to do more if given the opportunity, as active supporters of tax justice. 

Polling* commissioned from ICM by the Fair Tax Foundation found that two-thirds (62%) 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.

Mary Patel, Networks Manager at the Fair Tax Foundation said: “We’re delighted that Cheshire West and Chester Council is standing up for responsible tax conduct by approving the Councils for Fair Tax Declaration. In doing so, the Council is committing to the highest possible standards of tax conduct in its own affairs, and is joining other supporters of the Declaration in calling for greater powers to tackle tax avoidance amongst suppliers. 

“As recipients of significant public funding, it is right that municipalities should take the lead in the promotion of exemplary tax conduct; be that by asking contractors to be more transparent about their profits and who owns them, or by refusing to go along with offshore tax dodging when buying land and property. Where councils hold substantive stakes in private enterprises, then influence should be wielded to ensure that such businesses are exemplars of tax transparency and tax avoidance is shunned."

“At the Fair Tax Foundation, we believe that ‘good’ tax conduct should be a core public procurement consideration. Not only because it helps level the playing field for competing suppliers and bolsters the national corporate tax take, but it also enables better identification and mitigation of financial and corruption risks by contracting authorities.” 

The Council joins authorities in Oxford, Oldham, Peterborough, Cannock Chase, Bingley, Greenwich, Lincoln, Trafford, Sunderland, South Tyneside, Seaton Valley, Birmingham, North Tyneside and Lambeth as adopters of the initiative.

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