supporter message11
supporter message12
supporter message13
supporter message14
supporter message15
supporter message16
supporter message17
supporter message18
supporter message19
supporter message20

 

conscience TAXES FOR PEACE NOT WAR, works for a world where taxes are used to nurture peace, not pay for war.

We campaign for a progressive increase in the amount of UK tax spent on peacebuilding, and a corresponding decrease in the amount spent on war and preparation for war. We also campaign for the legal right of those with a conscientious objection to war to have the entire military part of their taxes spent on peacebuilding.

recent news & views

HMRC Refuse Right of Conscientious Objection

A group of staff from Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM), the charity which manages the central policy, property, staff and work of Quakers in Britain, have had a request rejected by the Treasury. They wanted to exercise their right of conscientious objection to war by ensuring that none of their taxes are used for military purposes.

Forty one individuals, representing their personal concerns and not that of Quakers in Britain as a whole, signed the letter which requested, ‘…that the part of our taxes that is currently used for military purposes be diverted to a special fund which is used only for non-military forms of security.’

In response to their letter the staff were told, ‘… as the law stands there are no provisions for taxpayers to withhold tax on grounds of conscience, or to decide which part of Government expenditure they would like their payments to be allocated to.’

A representative from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs continued, ‘To change a system where taxes could be earmarked for… specific items of expenditure, would restrict the Government’s ability to respond flexibly to changing priorities, or to react quickly to unforeseen circumstances’.

Conscience: Taxes for Peace Not War, an organisation which works to legalise the right of conscientious objection to military tax (COMT), argues that the Government is falsely assuming that state killing is equivalent to other forms of government spending.

This fails to recognise that conscientious objector (CO) status is a matter of moral, religious or ethical urgency for many individuals and therefore a human rights issue, not a political decision.

The argument that recognising the rights of COs would restrict Government power is an old one – one roundly defeated at the height of World War One when conscientious objection was first legalised.

If conscientious objection can be recognised in wartime, why not in peacetime as well?

Holly Wallis, a spokesperson from Conscience: Taxes for Peace Not War, has stated ‘Modern wars are no longer fought with conscript armies in which a CO can refuse to serve; they are fought with professional soldiers, high-tech weaponry, and the ideology of deterrence – paid for with our taxes. This is financial conscription with no right to object.’

She continued ‘Hypothecation, the practice of earmarking a specific tax for a specific purpose, is increasingly becoming part of the British Tax System. A non-military security fund provides the means by which COs, like the staff at BYM, can finance national security without undermining the collective nature of the UK Tax System.’

Sam Walton, one of those who wrote to HMRC informing of his personal objection, has stated ‘As conscientious objectors to war, we must also object to our taxes funding the military. This is all the more important in an era of remote warfare via armed drones and an imminent government decision to waste hundreds of billions on replacing Britain’s nuclear weapons.’

Regarding the response he received from the Treasury, Sam has stated ‘I am pleased that we have made HMRC aware that we conscientiously object to military taxation, and that has been noted by them. I would encourage others to use Conscience’s Peace Tax Return to do the same.’

 

For further quotes, organisational statements or interviewees, please contact outreach@conscienceonline.org.uk Tel: 0203 515 9132

Staff write letter in protest of the use of their taxes for military purposes

Employees of Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM), the organisation that works on behalf of Quakers in Britain, have signed a joint letter to the treasury stating […]

Meet Conscience at our interfaith event – is military spending a faith issue?

Join Conscience: Taxes for Peace Not War and representatives of a variety of faith communities for a discussion evening on military spending. Conscientious objection remains […]

Conscience launches the #PeaceTaxBill in Parliament

March 2nd 2016 marked 100 years since all unmarried men aged 18-41 were deemed to have enlisted in the British Army as a consequence of […]

support us

can you help us build real peace in our time?

War doesn’t work… but peacebuilding does. We hope you’ll get involved with our exciting new campaign, ‘meet the real peacebuilders’, in which we are working with ordinary women and men who build peace in their communities, across the world, each and every day.

Peacebuilders from the African Youth Peace Initiatives engaging with children in Uganda

This year, of course, we are all thinking about the centenary of the First World War.  We are reminded of the suffering and the staggering numbers of the dead; we are reminded of the Somme and the trenches, the war’s poets and letters sent home to loved ones; we remember ‘the 11th hour’ each November and think of poppies blooming across the battlefields. Find out more…

Back to top