A VICAR from Hackney has become the central figure of a new
documentary film that uncovers the shady dealings of the City of
London and its use of tax havens around the world.
Directed by Mark Donne, The UK Gold was launched at a
premiére at the Troxy Cinema in London. The film, narrated by the
actor Dominic West, and with a soundtrack by Thom Yorke of
Radiohead, reveals the extent to which UK-backed tax havens, such
as the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands, facilitate
tax-avoidance and tax-evasion around the globe.
The Vicar of St Thomas's, Stamford Hill, in Hackney, the Revd Dr
William Campbell-Taylor (above), takes a journey into the
murky depths of corporate finance, and reveals the extent to which
funds are diverted through Crown dependencies to avoid tax
authorities both at home and in the developing world.
Dr Campbell-Taylor said that he was shocked at what he
discovered making the film. "I can see the City of London from my
parish in Hackney, and I've often wondered what what goes on over
there does for us over here," he said.
"This film is about joining the dots and showing the connection
between those with power and wealth and those without.
"I hadn't realised the extent of the impact tax-dodging has on
aid and the developing world. There are countries in Africa
struggling because the City is helping companies that operate there
to channel funds through havens and avoid paying the taxes they
Christian Aid estimates that $160 billion a year is lost by
developing countries to corporate tax-dodging, more than twice the
total amount they receive in aid.
In the film, Dr Campbell-Taylor acknowledges that, although many
of the individuals who work in the City are hard-working family
people, he describes the current system as having "'demonic"
He said: "We're in dark days right now, but the Church should be
a place where we can deal with dark things and examine this
problem. Our scriptures and traditions give us a way of looking
clearly at the world.
"We need to have more confidence to address this theologically
and morally rather than seeing it simply as an economic issue."
Despite receiving encouragement from many parishioners for
taking on such a clandestine and powerful body, Dr Campbell-Taylor
said that some people in the City had lobbied the Bishop of London,
the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, to move him to a rural parish where
he would cause them less trouble.
He said: "The motto of the City of London is 'Domine, dirige
nos' - Lord, direct us. I'm just doing my bit to help
His blog is at hackneypreacher.com.
Joe Ware is Church and Campaigns Journalist for Christian