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The Peace Tax Seven

This is the first bill brought before parliament in 1986, by Denis Canovan MP and others, calling for the right to divert military taxes to a Peace Fund. It was not passed, of course, and there have been other similar Private Members bills since. John McDonnell MP was the last to try in 2002. Whatever the final decision in the PT7 case it would be timely to bring another bill at that point.

Ordered to be brought in by
Mr Dennis Canovan, Mr William McKelvey, Mr Bob McTaggart, Mr Stan Thorne
Mr Robert Parry, Mr Eddie Loyden, Mr Ernie Ross, Mr Alfred Dubs,
Mr Bob Edwards, Mr Dennis Skinner, Mr Allen Adams and Mr Gavin Strang

Ordered, by The House of Commons, to be Printed, 26 March 1986

To allow people to withhold that portion of their tax which is at present spent on arms and related purposes, and to facilitate the payment by them of sums so withheld to peaceful non-governmental purposes.

WHEREAS Her Majesty's Government, along with the governments of some other countries, are now participating in an escalating arms race, including a nuclear arms race, which diminishes the security of the people of the United Kingdom and threatens the very existence of the entire human race and whereas some tax payers have strong conscientious objections to being conscripted into the financing of such an evil war machine:

Be it therefore enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-

1. There shall be established a fund called the Peace Fund.
[Bill 124] 49/3
A.D. 1986

Peace fund.
Peace Tax

Objects of
peace fund.

Board of

Financing of
peace fund.

2.--{1) The Peace Fund shall be used to promote national and international security through non-military means and the Peace Fund may be used for the promotion of:
(i) international understanding, mediation and reconciliation;
(ii) study of the causes and resolution of conflict;
(iii) research and development involving the conversion of industrial production from military to non-military use;
(iv) famine relief and overseas development;
(v) such other purposes as may be approved by the Board of Trustees, subject to the provisions of this Act.

(2) The resources of the Peace Fund shall not be used as a substitute for Her Majesty's Government expenditure on anything eligible for Peace Fund expenditure.

3.--{1) A Board of Trustees shall be appointed to administer the Peace Fund.

(2) The number of members of the Board of Trustees shall be not less than five and not more than nine.

(3) The Prime Minister shall nominate the members of the Board of Trustees and each such nomination shall be subject to the approval of the House of Commons by affirmative resolution.

(4) Before making any nomination under subsection (3) of this section, the Prime Minister shall consult-
(i) the National Peace Council; and
(ii) the United Nations, Association; and
(iii) the British Council of Churches.

(5) The maximum period of service for any member of the Board of Trustees shall be six years.

(6) The Board of Trustees shall lay before Parliament an Annual Report, including an audited financial statement.

(7) The expenses of the Trustees shall be defrayed from the Fund.

4.--{1) Each person registered under section 5 of this Act may in each financial year make a payment into the Peace Fund.

(2) Any payments made under subsection (1) of this section shall be calculated so as to be equal to the average payment (as defined in subsection (3) below) towards the Ministry of Defence Votes, or the part of that average payment in respect of which the person concerned has registered a conscientious objection topaying.

Peace Tax

(3) The average payment to the Ministry of Defence Votes referred to in the preceding subsection shall be the amount obtained by dividing the Ministry of Defence Votes for the appropriate financial year, as stated in the Estimates laid before Parliament, by the total number of entries on the electoral register which comes into effect in the February immediately preceding the start of the appropriate financial year.

(4) Payments made under this section shall be called peace tax payments.

5.-(1) Any person on the electoral register for Parliamentary elections in the United Kingdom who conscientiously objects to paying taxes to finance military expenditure or certain categories of military expenditure shall be eligible to register as a peace tax payer by signing a formal statement to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

(2) The format and regulations concerning the formal statement referred to in subsection (1) above shall be contained in a Statutory Instrument which shall be subject to the approval of the House of Commons by affirmative resolution.

(3) The Chancellor of the Exchequer shall publish annually a list of the names and addresses of peace tax payers registered under this section.

(4) Any expenses incurred by a Minister of the Crown under this section shall be defrayed out of moneys provided by Parliament.

6. Any person who makes a payment to the Peace Fund under section 4 of this Act shall be entitled to withhold a corresponding amount from any other tax to which he is liable.

7. This Act may be cited as the Peace Tax Act 1986.

Register of
peace tax