Sunderland Council commits to Lib Dem-plan for crack-down on tax avoidance
By Niall Hodson
Sunderland City Council has approved a plan to make sure its businesses and suppliers it deals with aren't engaging in tax avoidance.
Councillors from all political parties in Sunderland have agreed a statement of intent on tax avoidance by supporting the principles of the Fair Tax Mark's Councils for Fair Tax Declaration.
The decision was taken at a meeting all city councillors on 27th January, after a debate put forward by Wearside Liberal Democrats and the local Green Party.
Sunderland Council is the first in the North East of England to declare its support.
The Fair Tax Mark is adopted by councils that want to see responsible tax conduct - doing what they can to increase transparency and make sure its suppliers and businesses it uses aren't engaging in tax avoidance.
Lib Dem leader Niall Hodson, who helped propose the new policy at Wednesday's meeting of all 73 city councillors, said:
"Every penny of tax that businesses avoid paying leaves a bill to be picked up by us, the regular taxpayers, and that simply isn't fair.
"People pay enough tax and they have every reason to expect businesses to play their part and support the Council and Government services and infrastructure we all rely on.
"By signing up to this initiative the Council are seeking to lead by example to make sure that everyone pay their fair share of tax. This is especially important now when public spending is under such intense pressure."
Polling* commissioned from ICM by the Fair Tax Mark found that two-thirds (62%) of the public agree that the Government and local councils should consider a company's ethics and how they pay their tax as well as value for money and quality of service provided, when undertaking procurement."