Responsible taxation and the SDGs
Working note for Responsible Tax Lab workstream, supported by SCVO
Date: March 2019
This initiative is an exploratory study looking at, 'The role of a responsible tax system in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)'.
Prepared for: Ruchir Shah & Paul Bradley, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO)
Prepared by: Caroline Macfarland & Malina McLennan, Common Vision (CoVi)
Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Scotland: Taxation and the Scottish National Performance Framework
What are we doing?
With the UK government's voluntary review due of its application of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals to take place in the first half of 2019 ahead of the UN's High Political Forum in July, this workstream will look at how taxation contributes to the government's national and international priorities around poverty, inequality, climate change, inclusive societies and access to health and education.
The aim of the workstream is to develop a civil society perspective on taxation in Scotland, against the backdrop of the National Performance Framework (NPF) in Scotland which is aligned with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
This work will help us develop civil society perspectives on how taxation contributes to national and international challenges around building a fairer, more equal, sustainable and inclusive Scotland and what can be learned about this for the rest of the UK. A key objective of the project is to understand the tools and knowledge that can equip Scotland’s third sector to understand financial information and tax policy levers. Increasing public understanding of just how taxes work is imperative if organisations and charities want to engage with the public on topics relating to responsible and sustainable tax practices.
Key questions are:
- How can we ensure that the tax system helps Scotland contribute to our international responsibilities as framed by UN Sustainable Goals, and what lessons can be gleaned for the rest of the UK?
- What sorts of tax policies might optimally align Scottish National Outcomes with the universal UN SDG agenda?
- How should the Scottish Government and other bodies incorporate responsible tax principles to best support a sustainable and inclusive economy, where more people are able to participate in an economy that leaves no-one behind? How might better fiscal transparency support the Scottish National Outcomes and SDGs, and greater public trust in the tax system?
- Do we need to raise more tax revenues to meet the Scottish National Outcomes?
- How best can we use tax reliefs as an incentive to ensure a more inclusive and sustainable economy? How should we divide up these tax incentives between charities, business, and individuals?
- How might the Scottish government engage with the UK and international tax cooperation in order to better meet the SDGs?
- A pre-launch open consultation on the points of interest and key questions
- A series of written and video interviews with business and civil society leaders
- A series of guest blogs/ articles which examine the relevance, possibilities, and applicability of responsible tax principles ahead of the culmination of the UK's Voluntary National Review in 2019.
- 2 roundtable events in Edinburgh and London
SCVO and Covi are planning to draw from the following stakeholders for an initial consultation for this initiative, before we open up the conversation to a wider group.
If you feel a relevant stakeholder is missing from this list please add to it or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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|Stakeholder type||Stakeholder||Organisations / Names|
|Government||Scottish Government||Ministers for finance and communities
Special advisors for finance and communities
Third Sector Unit officials
Finance division officials
Head of Open Government
Director for public service reform
Director General for communities
|Government||NDPBs||Scottish Human Rights Commission chair|
|Private Sector||Tax consultancies||ICAS
Ernst and Young consultancy
|Private Sector||Energy companies||SSE Energy
|Civil society||Think tanks||Fraser of Allander
|Civil society||Economists||Jo Armstrong (JA Analysis)
Mike Danson (Heriott Watt University)
|Politicians||MSPs||Co-convenor of Scottish Greens
Scottish Conservatives finance spokesperson
Scottish Labour finance spokesperson
Scottish Lib Dems finance spokesperson
|Civil Society||Third Sector||Homeless Action Scotland
Scottish Wildlife Trust
Glasgow Council for Voluntary Action
Community Enterprise (Scotland)
One Parent Families Scotland
Glasgow Council on Alcohol
Scottish Community Development Centre