“Church Action for Tax Justice” begins in UK

Lord Williams leads delegation to Parliament

Christian leaders visited the House of Lords in the UK on 17 April to challenge government inactivity on tax justice reforms and to demand action. Beginning the initiative “Church Action for Tax Justice”(CAT), president-designate of the UK Methodist Conference, Rev. Michaela Youngson, joined Lords Rowan Williams and Richard Harries, Dame Margaret Hodge and Quaker leader Paul Parker to demand an end to corporate tax evasion, greater transparency and a change to the negative narrative around tax.

Williams, who chairs Christian Aid, said: “The creation of this new church-wide movement is timely. Many of the world’s largest companies seem to have forgotten that they have moral duties, as well as legal ones. They must support human flourishing, not least by paying their fair share of taxes in all the countries where they do business – and being fully transparent about the relevant data.”

WCC sends congratulations

The World Council of Churches (WCC) sent its congratulations to CAT via a greeting from Athena Peralta, WCC programme executive for Economic and Ecological Justice. “The WCC has called for a New International Financial and Economic Architecture and a fair and equitable system of taxation,” she said. “Tax is at the core a moral issue. It can be an important tool for advancing the common good, helping to provide for the basic needs of the ‘least among of us’, redistributing wealth and strengthening social cohesion.”

CAT is a wonderful example of churches from different denominations coming together to call attention to our broken tax systems and to remind citizens, businesses, governments and other institutions of their shared financial responsibility to build healthier and happier communities, she added. “May other churches and ecumenical networks draw inspiration and power from CAT and may God’s blessings be upon this important work.”

In April, WCC was among organizations that convened the 3rd meeting of the Ecumenical Panel on a New International Financial and Economic Architecture (NIFEA) to coincide with the United Nations 3rd Economic and Social Council Forum on Financing for Development on 23-26 April.

Leaders and representatives from the WCC, World Communion of Reformed Churches, Council for World Mission, and Lutheran World Federation brought together the panel, composed of 13 experts in finance, economics, sociology and theology.

In a message addressed to the UN, NIFEA called for “national and international systems of taxation that reward work, enable the sharing of wealth, promote gender justice and penalise ‘public bads’ such as speculative, polluting and resource-depleting activities.”

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