Bradford shall be the UK City of Culture in 2025; a wonderful endorsement of all the hard work that everyone across the district has put in over recent years. We’re set to deliver over 100 new performances and events including 365 artist commissions, major arts festivals, as well as national and international collaborations rooted in the unique heritage and character of Bradford.

Alongside our passion and drive to be the UK city of culture, we also have an equal passion and drive to improve and ensure strong standards and good practice in our tax conduct.

This is why at the latest Bradford District Full Council meeting, I was delighted to speak on Labour’s motion to adopt the “Fair Tax Declaration”. The motion, which was adopted, resolves Bradford to ensure responsible tax conduct across all our activities, demand to know who owns and profits from the businesses the Council buys from and echoes the call for UK public procurement rules to change.

Hardworking and honest taxpayers are tired of footing the bill for tax dodging corporations and individuals who by their actions clearly have no interest in the welfare of our society – so why should we take any interest in their bids for public contracts?

As the Fair Tax Foundation has outlined: “Recent polling found that two thirds of people believe the Government and local authorities should consider a company’s ethics and how they pay their tax (…) when awarding contracts to companies.”

I’m proud that Bradford is a leader on this, as this is a pro-business measure in favour of businesses that do the right thing, are transparent about their own tax affairs, and don’t seek to squirrel-away their profits offshore.

At a time of national financial upheaval following a decade of austerity, Brexit, outsourcing public services during Covid (e.g. remember the £23bn spent on a failed track and trace system) and a mini-budget that saw working people’s mortgage rates skyrocket – people are rightly demanding better financial responsibility from government. The “Fair Tax Declaration” is what good, responsible government looks like. It seeks to reward those businesses that give back to the community through their taxes and penalise those that seek to find any and all routes to avoid paying their taxes. It’s a positive action from a local authority against a backdrop of incompetence and chaos at number 10.