Church Action on Poverty says it is "delighted" at the first success of their campaign to 'Close the Gap' between rich and poor through fairer taxes.
The government announced earlier this week that it is to close a tax loophole that has allowed retailers to avoid paying VAT by sending goods from subsidiaries in the Channel Islands. Low Value Consignment Relief (LVCR) will not apply to goods sent from the Channel Islands to the UK from 1 April.
The loophole has been used increasingly in recent years by companies selling CDs and DVDs online, such as Play.com, Tesco and Amazon. It was costing the UK £140 million a year – enough to make all the cuts to Sure Start and other children’s services unnecessary, say campaigners.
Church Action on Poverty launched a campaign for Fair Taxes by demanding that the loophole be closed. It then delivered an open letter to the Chancellor, signed by nine church leaders and mobilised over 750 Christian campaigners to email the Chancellor about the VAT dodge.
Church Action on Poverty’s National Coordinator Niall Cooper commented: “In a time of austerity and spending cuts, it is unacceptable for wealthy companies to avoid paying tax. It amounts to stealing from the poor. It‘s great news that these companies will no longer be able to dodge VAT in this way – but it’s just the first step. Tax avoidance of all kinds has created a Tax Gap which steals £35 billion from the UK very year. We’ll continue working with church leaders and ordinary Christians to make the case for Fair Taxes.”
Church Action on Poverty is inviting all churches and Christians to join the campaign by making a simple Pledge to Give, Act or Pray at www.church-poverty.org.uk/closethegap 
* More information about Low Value Consignment Relief and the campaign to close the loophole at www.vatloophole.co.uk .
* A full briefing about the issues involved in Church Action on Poverty’s campaign to Close the Gap between rich and poor (currently focusing on Fair Taxes) is available at www.church-poverty.org.uk/news/whyclosethetaxgap