A short look into Britain’s silent endorsement of tax avoidance

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Last Thursday I introduced a debate in the House of Lords about the proposals in two excellent reports by Church Action for Tax Justice, ‘Tax for the Common Good’ (Sept 2019), and ‘Fair Tax Now’ (Jan 2021).

I am no expert on matters of taxation, but I have been all too aware of the numerous news stories over recent years documenting how various multinational companies pay miserly rates of tax. Tax avoidance is one of the report’s central focuses, highlighting not only its extent but the associated loss of revenue. …

It is not enough to just make moral arguments in favour of overseas aid, the public also want to feel they are getting value for money

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When the Government confirmed it was cutting foreign aid from 0.7% to 0.5% of Gross National Income, I, alongside many fellow Church of England Bishops, condemned the decision. My conviction on this issue stems from the fact that we live in a country which, despite some serious domestic challenges, is incredibly privileged compared to the majority of the world, and it is morally right that we give at least 0.7% to help those who are less fortunate.

Put in perspective, the 0.2% cut amounts to £4bn a year. Considering that the UK has wasted £10bn on PPE and wrote off…

The actions of international governments implicitly place greater value on the life of a Belarussian than that of a Uyghur. If we are still serious about human rights for all, then why is China hosting the 2022 Winter Olympic Games?

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“Promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity” — Words lifted directly from the Olympic Charter. Perhaps naively, I took this as a principle, for when I questioned the UK Government over the unsuitability of Beijing as a host for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games due to the Chinese Communist Party’s treatment of its Muslim Uyghur minority, they rejected to approach the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Instead, statements of condemnation were given, that like those of the charter, amount to rhetoric without recourse.

Contrast this to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s announcement that the UK, along with its…

Dr Alan Smith

Bishop of St Albans, Doctor of Philosophy, Lords Spiritual Member of the UK Parliament

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