Together with several networks of Christian students, we’re supporting Christian Aid as they launch an exciting new campaign for tax justice in universities and colleges: Sourced. There are ways for both students and non-students to get involved. We asked Christian Aid to introduce the campaign.
Chances are, you’re pretty clued up about tax. So you’ll know that taxes are used by governments to pay for a whole host of different services from education to healthcare and infrastructure to defence. Tax is important because it’s one of the most powerful tools for tackling poverty, here and in developing countries.
In a nutshell, that’s the reason for the Sourced campaign.
Universities are institutions with huge financial turnovers which, in light of recent tuition fee changes, are increasingly becoming more business-like and profit-conscious. Whatever romantic ideals about academia that reality might smash aside, it does mean that students have a very real opportunity to make a difference on their campuses.
Here’s how – universities spend millions on procuring contracts for all their goods and services, whether that’s for the supply of gas and electricity or to keep the student union shop (and bar) well stocked. These contracts are often fulfilled by large multinationals. Sometimes, these same multinationals are dodging their taxes – leading to cuts in public spending that harm universities and other educational institutions here in the UK, and depriving developing countries of vital money too.
Ultimately, however, universities need to keep their customers (students) happy, or else the business model collapses. That means that students are in an incredibly powerful position to take a stand and ask (nicely, of course) that their university build some tax compliance questions into their procurement procedure. Hopefully, most universities will already be asking questions, or will say yes to adding them right away. If not, what a great opportunity for a bit of classic student campaigning!
So, you’re keen on justice, get the importance of tax, and you’re now wondering how you can get involved in the Sourced campaign. Fantastic!
- Scenario 1: you’re a student of some kind. Great – come along and find out more at www.christianaidcollective.org/sourced about how to get your very own Sourced campaign off the ground.
- Scenario 2: you’re not a student, but you’re still keen to support the Sourced campaign. Amazing – thanks so much! You can still find out more at our website. Could you ask any students that you know whether they’ve heard about it? It would also be amazing if you could pray for all those students who will get involved with the campaign, and that we would see a generation of justice-inspired campaigners rise up from within the church across our nation!
The Christian Aid Collective is a movement of young people desperate to create a different world. A world without poverty and injustice, a world where everyone has what they need to live life in all its fullness. Andrew Weston is currently the Christian Aid Collective Digital & Events Intern.
Church Action on Poverty is calling for Fair Taxes as part of our campaign to Close the Gap between rich and poor.