1,000 signatures reached
To: Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)
Keep tax avoiders out of Bristol NHS
We are calling on Bristol CCG to drop their plan to open up NHS contracts to tax avoiding companies. They plan to do this by changing their constitution. The constitution does not currently allow them to give contracts to tax avoiding companies: this is a just, moral and ethical stance that should not be amended.
Why is this important?
NHS commissioners in Bristol plan to open up NHS contracts to tax avoiding companies and corporations. They are asking Bristol GPs to vote for a change to the constitution of Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). This change would sweep away current restrictions on tax avoiding companies. It would allow private companies with tax avoiding strategies to secure contracts for NHS services. Then they will be able to rob the NHS twice over. First by siphoning off a profit from NHS funds and then by using strategies to avoid paying any tax. Our NHS is entirely funded by taxation: if less tax is collected, less funding is available for the NHS.
Bristol CCG have been advised by their lawyers that if they do not make these changes, they may face legal challenges from tax-avoiding companies – although to date there no evidence that any CCGs have been challenged as described. Whichever way, our public services should not be threatened by corporate power and greed. The constitution of Bristol CCG is correct to exclude tax-avoiders from NHS contracts and this clause should be retained and supported.
How will this make a difference?
Protect our NHS, a Bristol campaign group, used this clause in the CCG constitution in 2015. It helped us to be successful in defending Bristol and South Gloucestershire Children’s Community Health services from privatisation. We argued that companies, such as Virgin Care, avoided paying tax in the UK and that Bristol CCG could not, therefore, award them the contract. Whilst we and the public are not allowed to know what went on behind the closed doors of procurement decision making, Virgin Care did not get the contract. This was in contrast to their successful bids in Devon and Wiltshire.
Why oppose tax avoiders?
Our NHS is almost entirely funded by general taxation. If tax is not paid, there will be no NHS. Only big companies can afford to set up tax avoidance structures and the rest of us – as individuals or smaller companies – pay our taxes or get fined. Bristol CCG, and its Bristol GP membership, should oppose tax avoidance because it is unjust, unethical and starves the NHS of money. Far from wanting to change its constitution, it should be proud of it. It was thanks to a campaign by 38 degrees in 2012 that the constitution included a clause about tax avoiders. We came together to make sure that ethical and moral considerations would be included into commissioning decisions, and this was accepted by the CCG at the time. To go back on this commitment now would be a step backwards. This petition provides the CCG with evidence that patients and the public wish them to stand by their constitution and drop their plan to amend it.
What else can I do?
1) Tell Bristol CCG what you think. They have an on-line public consultation which is open until Wednesday 24th February. It is a simple box where you can write your views – short or long. This is the official consultation so will carry extra weight. To access click on the following link:
2) Inform your MP about what is happening (made easy at www.writetothem.com) and urge them to put pressure on the CCG to drop their plan to change their constitution
3) Pass on this petition and information to your family, friends and neighbours
4) Join our campaign at