Just before lockdown in March, we were due to consider a motion on approving the Councils for Fair Tax Declaration. We wanted Trafford to be an early endorser of a growing movement that is standing up for responsible corporation tax conduct.
As we reflect on the many consequences emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe there is a growing wish for a fairer society and a desire to avoid going back to how things were before.
So, I’m delighted that the declaration gained unanimous approval at our first full council meeting after opening up to non-emergency business.
We’ve joined authorities of different political colours – including Oxford, Oldham, Edinburgh, Peterborough, Lincoln and Greenwich – by committing to lead by example on our own tax conduct, demand greater transparency from our suppliers, and call for more meaningful powers to tackle tax avoidance in procurement.
I was particularly pleased that the motion met with cross-party support from the four political parties represented on Trafford Council.
Polling earlier this year for the Fair Tax Mark, the community benefit society behind the declaration, showed that government and local councils should consider a company’s ethics and how they pay their taxes, as well as value for money and quality of service, when undertaking procurement.
We will now be working with our officers, as well as STAR Procurement – the award-winning shared procurement service for Stockport, Trafford and Rochdale Councils – on how we embed these commitments.
Everyone needs to pay their fair share, especially now, when public spending is under such intense pressure, with the challenges this presents to the maintenance of crucial frontline services.
By signing up to this initiative in Trafford, we are seeking to lead by example.