'For a fair tax system and a just society' by Ian Hodson, National President, Bakers, Food & Allied Workers Union
The issue of Starbucks avoiding tax is yet another example of the establishment looking after its own at the expense of the rest. In the recent budget, the government was prepared to slap a tax on pasties and put thousands of jobs at risk.
George Osborne was fully prepared to put a further burden on working people through a flawed and totally impractical tax and it took a considerable amount of campaigning in order for him to scrap it.
The government will bend over backwards to squeeze and pressurise those with little money. They pull out all the stops to attack those on benefits, yet at the same time, they refuse to deal with those businesses and other wealthy individuals that use loopholes to avoid paying tax.
The priorities for this government couldn't be clearer- the dismantling of the welfare state and the passing over of our valued public sector into the hands of their rich and greedy friends in the city. The aim is to concentrate the wealth of the many into the hands of the few.
This government isn't just making us pay for an economic crisis we didn't create by placing the financial burden on the least well off and cutting benefits; it intends to allow workplace exploitation through both the watering down of hard fought employment legislation and the reduction of health and safety protection. This means that our children will be entering workplaces far less safe than they were before.
The government is also hell bent on abusing the unemployed with their vile 'Workfare' programme, which is nothing less than another subsidy to big companies in the shape of free labour, masquerading as 'work experience'.
A fair tax system is required with airtight, robust legislation running alongside it that will make it easy to bring criminal charges against those that fail to pay their taxes. This government and others before it have deliberately failed to deal with tax loopholes, believing that it helped to create growth. There can be absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the current recession, the worst in history puts an end to that theory.
The failure of the government to close loopholes in our tax system has led to a lack of investment in schools, housing and our health service. Instead, they attack our pensioners and disabled whilst targeting and demonising anyone that claims any sort of benefit.
They have the temerity to do this in the name of 'economic necessity' and 'fairness', yet they cut taxes for themselves and other millionaires, whilst allowing others to avoid paying it completely.
All of this explains why UK Uncut's campaign is both right and justified.
Our members in the BFAWU fully endorse and support the activities they carry out in pursuit of fair taxation and a just society. We must not, cannot and will not be deterred from this aim.
The BFAWU is asking its members across the country to join the day of action organised by UK Uncut for the 8th December. We will also be raising the issue from the platform of the demonstration taking place in Manchester (Say No to Osborne’s cutbacks and no more Condem Austerity) which has been organised by Greater Manchester association of trades councils also being held on the 8th December.