Council becomes first in Wales to join ‘fair tax’ movement
Saul Cooke-Black, local democracy reporter
Torfaen council has become the first local authority in Wales to make a fair tax declaration.
A motion put forward by council leader, Cllr Anthony Hunt, to join the Fair Tax Foundation’s growing movement won cross-party support at a full council meeting on Tuesday.
The council is the 19th in the UK to pass the Councils for Fair Tax declaration, which commits local authorities to lead by example and demonstrate good practice in tax conduct.
Research commissioned by the Fair Tax Foundation has revealed that between 2014-19, 17.5% of UK public procurement contracts – with a combined value of £37.5 billion – were won by businesses with connections to a tax havens.
Putting forward the motion, Cllr Hunt said the council would be joining “a growing movement of councils standing up for fair tax conduct”.
Conservative councillor Huw Bevan said he supported the ‘spirit’ of the movement, but that he was unsure how much could be done locally.
He asked if the council could review the procurement scheme in Wales to make sure it is meeting the criteria for fair tax conduct – a suggestion Cllr Hunt said he would take forward.
Cllr Hunt added the council “cannot do everything but we can be a good influence”.
“This is about us making our best efforts to respond to this agenda,” he said.
Under the motion approved by councillors, the council resolves to “lead by example” and demonstrate good practice in tax conduct.
It has also resolved to support calls for urgent reforms to enable local authorities to better penalise poor tax conduct and reward good tax conduct through their procurement policies, as well as supporting Fair Tax week events in the area.
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Well done Cllr Anthony Hunt. It is a good scheme and hopefully more councils will follow this leading step. Of course what would make a real difference was if the Senedd was to decide that they would join the scheme. That would certainly help to bear down on the Tax Avoiders. I guess such a proposal would not get 100% support as some MSs believe in their ‘individual freedom’ to avoid tax.