Hackney Council passes Green motion: “Standing up for Responsible Tax Conduct - Councils for Fair Tax Declaration”

On 24 January 2024, the Green Group’s motion on Responsible Tax Conduct was passed at a Full Council meeting. Polling from the Institute for Business Ethics finds that “corporate tax avoidance” has, since 2013, been the number one concern of the British public when it comes to business conduct. Around 17.5% of public contracts in the UK have been won by companies with links to tax havens. It has been conservatively estimated that losses from multinational profit-shifting (just one form of tax avoidance) could be costing the UK some £17bn per annum in lost corporation tax revenues.

By passing this motion, Hackney Council has committed to:

  • Avoiding offshore vehicles for the purchase of land and property.
  • Demand clarity on the ultimate beneficial ownership of the council’s suppliers. 
  • Ensure that the council’s suppliers are not using not-for-profit structures inappropriately.
  • Promote Fair Tax Mark certification among the council’s suppliers and across Hackney.
  • Support calls for urgent reform of UK procurement law to enable local authorities to better penalise poor tax conduct.

As the proposer, the Green Party’s Hackney Downs Councillor, Alastair Binnie-Lubbock intended to say in his statement (abridged at the meeting due to time pressure): 

“Although tax evasion is illegal - there are, unfortunately, many legal ways for corporations to avoid paying their fair share of tax. But as a council we can intervene, using the levers available to us particularly through procurement. One of the most important features of this motion is that it gives the council the tool to assess the general conduct of a corporation, breaking the current need for all ethical considerations to be rooted exclusively in the subject matter of the contract.

This motion is a major step forwards in how we as a council use procurement contracts to ensure that we have the ethical, value-oriented borough that our residents want, and deserve.”

The Green Party’s Dalston Councillor, Zoë Garbett, has commented:

“This motion contributes to systems change, allowing money to flow into local community wealth building, not to the large tax-avoiding corporations. I hope we will now see ‘The Fair Tax Mark’ become as widespread as ‘fair trade’, so that a normal day in Hackney is a day where the council commissions family-run, co-operative and small businesses owned and managed by and for Hackney residents, as models of responsible tax conduct.”

The full text of the motion can be found here: