Campaigning in parliament for a Peace Tax

The last time Conscience launched a Bill in parliament, trying to change the law so that citizens have the right to conscientiously object to paying the military proportion of their taxes, was in 2016. The Bill called for a Peace Tax.  You can read about the Taxes for Peace Bill 2016 here:

I have been doing some research on previous campaigning within parliament to try to bring about a Peace Tax and I came across a fascinating parliamentary research briefing, ‘Hypothecated Taxation’. It was written by Antony Seely and produced by the House of Commons Library in 2011:

The briefing begins by describing what it means by ‘hypothecated taxation’:

The research briefing includes sections on the following themes: ‘The case for hypothecation’, ‘Hypothecation and the NHS’, ‘A peace tax’, ‘Hypothecation and green taxes’, and ‘Earmarking revenues: road fuels, tobacco duties, and National Insurance Contributions’.

Reading the Peace Tax section I could see that the period 1993-2006 was a very active one for the campaign. Here is a list of the Early Day Motions, Ten Minute Rule Bills, and petitions supporting a Peace Tax which were presented during that time:

Below I have reproduced the Peace Tax section of the research briefing in full.  You will see it includes a speech made by Neil Gerrard in 1994 when presenting his Ten Minute Rule Bill, “Conscientious Objection (Public Expenditure) Bill”, and a speech made by John McDonnell in 1998 when introducing his Ten Minute Rule Bill, “Military Expenditure (Conscientious Objection) Bill”.   

The important role Conscience has played in lobbying for a Peace Tax is recognised in the last sentence above.  Earlier in the briefing the author describes people’s efforts to achieve a Peace Tax as ‘a small but consistent campaign’.  It is our job, in the 2020’s, to build on our consistent, persistent, rich campaigning history until everyone has the right to divert the military proportion of their taxes to peaceful purposes.  


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