Campaigners seek to influence wealth tax reform

A tax campaigning body is aiming to turbo charge its influence with decision-makers by developing a public affairs capacity.

Tax Justice UK plans to bolster its public affairs capacity
Tax Justice UK plans to bolster its public affairs capacity

Tax Justice UK has developed a three-year strategy focused on the ambition that everyone in the UK should benefit from a fairer and more effective tax system. 

In the strategy, published this month and covering its work until 2021, Tax Justice UK – which is funded by charitable foundations including the Barrow Cadbury Trust and Friends Provident Foundation – plans to focus its proactive work on building a political campaign around greater taxes on wealth. 

A key element of the strategy is developing a strong public affairs function, with the capacity to build a broad movement of credible voices to back radical reforms to the tax system, shape a public narrative about a fairer tax system, and work with politicians to build support for reform.

Tax Reform UK executive director Robert Palmer told PRWeek that its proposals have already received public support from Labour, the SNP and Lib Dems.

"Ultimately it is politicians who make decisions about taxes and so to meet our goals, it’s crucial that we work with them," he said.

"We’re a new organisation and need to build our profile, as well as a network of groups and individuals that share our goals. Given the state of politics, it’s hard to make any firm predictions about how long something will take. We’re at the start of building political support for our agenda, but will be reaching out to politicians from all parties."

Public affairs work is set to include identifying a list of potential political champions for tax reform and engaging them, responding to government and opposition policy consultations, providing input into party policy and manifestos, and collaborating with lawmakers through working with committees and All Party Parliamentary Groups.

While building support for radical reform, Tax Justice UK plans to look for opportunities along the way for short-term wins, which might include adding extra bands to Council Tax and reforming Inheritance Tax reliefs.

Ultimately, the body hopes to achieve a shift in the position of at least one political party to support its tax-reform agenda.

Tax Justice UK aims to build on the success of its involvement in a 2018 financial campaign, after Parliament voted in favour of forcing the UK's Overseas Territories to end secret company ownership.

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