Ruth Cadbury Proposes Allowing Opting Out of Spending on Defence

MP's Bill would allow taxes to be spent on non-military projects

Video courtesy of John Dale - Brentford TV

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Brentford and Isleworth MP Ruth Cadbury has presented a Bill to Parliament which would allow individuals to opt out of their taxes being spent on defence. She made the presentation a day after the Commons voted to support proceeding with the Trident Nuclear deterrent at an estimated cost of £30 billion.

The Bill which was prepared with the help of campaigning organisation Conscience: Taxes for Peace not War, envisages that an individual would be allowed to stipulate on their tax return that the proportion of their tax paid that would be spent on the military would be diverted to other areas such as international development.

Ms Cadbury, who is a Quaker, said that both her grandfathers had been conscientious objectors refusing to bear arms during war. Instead they had served by undertaking roles such as driving ambulances and working in field hospitals.

She told the House of Commons this week, “The central purpose of the Bill is to give taxpayers who have a conscientious objection to war the right to direct to a non-military security fund the portion of their taxes that would otherwise be spent on military purposes.”

She said it would provide a mechanism for conscientious objectors to fund non-military peace-building and conflict prevention initiatives, which would contribute to national security while allowing individuals to pay their taxes with a clear conscience.

She dismissed objections to the Bill on the grounds that it introduces hypothecation by saying that the Government’s sugar tax, which is to be spent on sports provision for young people, is a form of hypothecation. Also the additional tax on insurance premiums is going to be allocated to flood prevention. She said that the UK’s most significant form of personal hypothecation was Gift Aid, which redirects personal income tax towards a named charity.

June 24, 2016

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