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Bishops tell Sunak and Starmer 'taxes are a blessing'

by Donna Birrell

Over 20 prominent Christian leaders including former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the current Bishops of Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Stepney and Barking as well as several charity leaders, academics and theologians have signed an open letter to the leaders of the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour parties urging them to ‘seek the welfare of the nation’ through fairer taxation.

The letter, authored by the JustMoney Movement, urges the leaders, if elected to form a Government in the upcoming General Election to help shift the narrative on tax, so it is seen as a blessing and not a burden, a vital tool for shaping a better society. They also call for the reform of the tax system so everyone contributes a fair share.

They write: "The wealthiest in society often don’t contribute their fair share towards the common good, for example: the richest 10 per cent pay just 34 per cent of their income in taxes, but the poorest 10 per cent pay 42 per cent; council tax is regressive with the poorest 10 per cent of the population paying 8 per cent of their income in council tax, while the richest 40 per cent pay 2-3 per cent; and often the wealthiest are able to avoid paying the taxes they should by using ‘tax havens’, passing on assets through family trusts, or using various exemptions built into the system."

Sarah Edwards, Director of the JustMoney Movement told Premier:

"We can actually see tax as a blessing. It's a way in which we can fund things which enable everyone in society to flourish.

“It’s more important than ever to talk about tax. Taxes are part of everyday life: they are a tool of government in seeking a society where everyone can flourish. A fairer tax system could address inequality and raise revenue towards strengthening our public services and tackling the breakdown in our climate and nature. That’s why we are calling for fairer taxes – to get us closer to the kind of just, compassionate society we see in the biblical Jubilee and in Jesus’s kingdom values.”

Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rt Revd Dr Rowan Williams said:

“It's time to challenge the narrative about taxation as some sort of irrational imposition by a distant and greedy government and connect it again with our basic responsibility for one another in society. But this can't happen unless people trust the system to be both fair and effective. What we are seeking is a grown-up discussion of all this - not uncritical, but not unrealistic or resentful, grounded in the biblical vision of our call to serve and protect one another as the foundation of a durable and dependable social order.”


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