CAMPAIGNERS stepped up calls for an end to international tax evasion, as a UK-wide charity drive rolled into York.
The Tax Justice Bus visited Northallerton, Ripon and three venues in York yesterday, on the 47th day of a 53-day UK tour.
In York, it stopped at the Minster, the University of York and Archbishop Holgate’s School, where students met campaigners and discussed their work.
Jonathan Britton, deputy head teacher, said ahead of the visit: “We are very fortunate to have been selected as the only school in York to be visited by the bus and hope that this will inspire students as they begin to think about their volunteering projects as part of the Archbishop of York Young Leader’s Award.”
Members of the public, church workers and politicians have been invited to visit the bus around the country, to discuss the campaign to tackle tax dodging.
The bus is being run and manned by Christian Aid and Churches Against Poverty, who estimate that tax avoidance by multinational companies costs the developing world $160 billion (around £100 billion) a year – one and half times the global aid budget.
People visiting the bus have been encouraged to petition Prime Minister David Cameron to fight to overturn secrecy laws that allow companies to blur where they make their money.
Specifically, the campaigners want Mr Cameron to press for laws forcing companies to declare profits on a country-by-country basis and forcing tax havens to automatically share information about money flowing through them.
Alex Jones, Yorkshire coordinator for Christian Aid, said there was a good turnout across our region.
Dr Dereje Alemayhu, Christian Aid country manager for Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, who visited York with the bus, said: “Tax avoidance is draining resources out of Africa and the developing world.”
Niall Cooper, of Church Action on Poverty, said the UK Government had been made aware of £35 billion of unpaid tax, which could be invested in tackling UK poverty, and Paul Brannen of Christian Aid said: “By making changes to the tax system, people across the world can live healthier, happier and less hungry lives.”