Conscience UK Campaign Report
Since the last international conference the main focus of our work has been an advertising campaign to recruit new members. Our membership has increased by 30% since April 1995.
Our aim is to have as many new members as possible to lobby new Members of Parliament after the UK General Election (expected in May 1997). We are also working to raise enough money to secure the future work of the campaign.
We have printed and distributed over 200,000 leaflets through magazines and mailings to people concerned with peace, environment, developments, ethical investment, human rights, ethical consumers, civil liberties, and religion. We attract 3 new members for every 1,000 leaflets we distribute and recover the costs of printing and distribution.
We now have 2,200 members - our highest ever level. We are gaining new members at the rate of ten every week.
Following our Peace Tax Bill in 1994 we gained 6 more UK Members of Parliament and we now have the support of 87 UK MPs. The European Election in 1994 also resulted in 6 more supporters, giving us 23 Members of the European Parliament (our highest ever level). We are currently preparing for lobbying after the UK General Election, which is due in May 1997.
We will be introducing a Peace Tax Bill and other initiatives during the first two years of the new Parliament.
If the General Election results in a Labour Party Government, as expected, this will be a new experience for Conscience, who have only ever worked under a Conservative Party Government.
In May 1995, Conscience staged a protest burning of 4,300 mock £10 notes to highlight the waste of taxes on the military. The bonfire represented the £43,000 of UK taxpayers money spent on the military every minute of 1995.
In November 1995 we sent a briefing to all our supporting MPs suggesting alternative, positive uses for military expenditure.
War Tax Resistance:
Several members have entered into WTR since the last international conference. Roger Franklin of Gloucestershire ended up spending two weeks in prison for refusing to pay tax on his savings, gaining much media attention.