Christian Aid ditches tax haven stunt

A campaign stunt to mark the start of Christian Aid week was cancelled because owners of the sites that the charity wanted to use refused to grant permission for fear it would upset corporations with offices nearby.

Christian Aid campaigners had planned to create a mini tax haven – complete with sand, palm trees and an actor dressed as a ‘fat cat’ in a deck chair – in London’s financial quarter. The stunt was to draw attention to the charity’s report, Death and Taxes, about the impact of corporate tax avoidance in developing countries.

“All the owners of the three potential sites said that they were uncomfortable with the content of our report,” said campaigner Rachel Baird.

Property brokers Broadgate Estates, which owns Finsbury Avenue Square, More London, which rents space near Tower Bridge, and Potters Fields Park Management Trust, a non-profit company that also owns land in the City of London, all refused permission.

“We did not anticipate meeting the kind of blank refusals that we met, and that’s why we left it late to find a site,” said Baird. “Although it was mostly a question of bad timing, it does raise questions about freedom of speech.”

Last year Christian Aid created a mock refugee camp on the South Bank to highlight the issue of forced migration.

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