What do the Election Manifestos say about tax justice? | ActionAid UK

It’s been a big week for election watchers with the publication of party manifestos. In politics, they say you campaign in poetry and you govern in prose. So, how are our modern political poets doing? Now that all the manifestos are out, here's a quick rundown of what they say about tax.

Will the three main parties support a Tax Dodging Bill?

All the main parties bar the SNP have now set out their vision for a better, fairer, brighter, greener (delete as appropriate) future.

For activists and campaigners alike manifesto week is always circled in red pen. It’s when you find out if you’ve read the political winds right.

Tax tops the agenda

At a top level, we can certainly point to some clear trends in the manifestos. All of the parties in one way or another have promised a crack-down on tax dodging – good news for our Tax Dodging Bill campaign.

Some have provided more detail than others:

  • The Greens, Labourthe SNP, the Alliance Party and Plaid Cymru have all at various stages in the campaign pledged their support for the principle of a Bill, backed up with varying levels of detail in their manifestoes.
  • The Lib Dems, though not invoking the campaign directly, do appear to have cogged a few chunks from our policy document and we’re not complaining.
  • The Conservative Manifesto offers less detail on where they will get the £5 billion they have said they will recover, but does show a new willingness to look at publishing company accounts country by country – important for developing countries.
  • UKIP has pledged to set up a Treasury Commission to bring in necessary changes to stop companies dodging tax in the UK

Looking to the future

On wider development issues the consensus on development spending and tackling climate change remains (with one exception) as does a focus on prioritising women’s rights.

But with all the polls pointing to a hung parliament, and multiparty Government now seemingly here to stay, the importance of the manifesto has changed. What was once a take it or leave it set menu, is now more a political buffet.

This new way of governing opens up a range of opportunities for campaigners to ensure that our issues are at the top of the list when future coalition negotiations begin.

When the temptation is to cut a quick deal we need people like you to make your voice heard to ensure that issues like tax avoidance do not slip under the radar and remain at the forefront of the political agenda.



NB: Last updated on 22nd April