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Christians challenge government on tax

In an open letter to The Guardian newspaper, they called on David Cameron to stop big businesses hiding billions of pounds a year by closing tax loopholes.

The letter also says paying tax reflects the Christian duty to love your neighbour, and that the poorest and most vulnerable in society suffer in particular because of tax avoidance.

It said this was particularly the case in developing countries, where businesses avoiding taxes could be the difference between life and death for someone.

All political parties pledged before the election to clamp down on tax avoidance, however the parties produced different figures as to how much they could raise for the Treasury by doing so.

Revd Gethin Rhys, the Policy Officer for Churches Together and a signatory of the letter, told Premier's News Hour: "This is a promise that was made by pretty well every political party during the election, but it's a promise we've heard before.

"We felt it was important to say this needs to be got on with and as we know as a country we can't really afford to lose tax revenues at this time when we're running a deficit.

"Every day normal working-class people by and large do pay their taxes. The effect it has on them therefore, is that the government overall has - and therefore society overall - has fewer resources available to help and support people when they're in need, and that means there's pressure as we know on the NHS, but also on... social care...

"All these things are under huge pressure. You only have to go and talk to anybody in a local authority... for them to say we're really short of the resources that we need to provide these services, and yet they are ones that make for a civilised society."

Listen to Revd Gethin Rhys speaking to Premier's Antony Bushfield on the News Hour.

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