Fair Tax Week - how people and communities can benefit if tax is fairer

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, reflects on how, through fair tax, the people and communities of Birmingham can benefit from our city’s growth.

Last week was Fair Tax Week, and this provided an opportunity to reflect on the role that corporation tax plays in the UK. Corporation tax is a vital source of revenue for public services, whether it’s education, health and social care, or policing, corporation tax helps to fund the services that keep our society going, and that’s why it’s crucial that we make tax fairer in the UK.

Last year, I was proud to sign Birmingham City Council up to the Fair Tax Declaration, becoming the thirteenth council in the UK to adopt the initiative. The Declaration committed Birmingham City Council to pursuing exemplary tax conduct in our affairs, and to requiring greater transparency from the companies who work as our suppliers.

BCC is an organisation with a budget in excess of £3 billion, and therefore it’s important that we lead by example in what we do. One way in which we make a difference is through the Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility - a set of guiding themes to which the Council adheres, and we invite our contracted suppliers, the wider business community, public sector bodies, and third sector organisations to adopt it too. Since its launch, over 500 organisations have signed the Charter, committing themselves to the local economy and their communities.

Birmingham is recovering well from the coronavirus pandemic, and we are seeing increased investment into our city, bringing new jobs, homes and opportunities. We can harness this growth to help us tackle the inequalities that exist in our city, such as the 42% of children who grow up in relative poverty, and the ten-year gap in life expectancy between the richest and poorest neighbourhoods.

Fair tax will be crucial in helping us to do this, both through business rates and through corporation tax. I believe that everyone needs to pay their fair share, from the small businesses in the heart of our communities, right up to worldwide giants.

As we attract more businesses to our city, we will continue to work to promote the importance of fair taxation, and we will continue to work with our partners to lobby the Government to close the loopholes that allow some organisations to make vast profits in our country without paying so much as a penny in taxes.

Whilst Birmingham City Council alone cannot solve these issues, we can continue to lead by example and encourage our partners to pay their fair share.

This blog was posted on 24 June 2022

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