Real Action Against Tax Evasion

European Union 2How nauseating it’s been to watch our PM in recent days as he’s sought to defend his squeaky-clean tax record, sweeping aside all those sleazy tax-dodgers in the process.

The former PR man has been at his very best as he’s presented himself as pioneering reformer of offshore tax havens and champion of openness and transparency in all taxation matters.

So just how does David Cameron square this new image of ethical tax dealing with his own government’s determined efforts to obstruct EU plans to clamp down on tax evasion by multi-national companies on the grounds that such measures are ‘anti-competitive’ and lobby to keep offshore trusts out of EU transparency plans?

In June of last year the UK financial secretary to the Treasury responsible for tax policy, David Gauke, announced to representatives of the European Parliament that Britain would be rejecting plans drawn up in Brussels to combat industrial-scale tax avoidance by the world’s biggest multinationals on the grounds that they were anti-competitive. A committee of MEPs had been examining ways of removing some of the national differences in tax policy among member states that multintionals have been able to exploit to reduce their tax bill.

Our own Anneliese Dodds, Labour MEP for the South East, who was involved in the investigation by a committee of MEPs into tax avoidance by major companies through the use of tax havens and who co-authored a report that recommended sanctions be imposed on those firms noted:

“ When my report was approved in the parliament, it received overwhelming support from all parties throughout Europe. The notable exceptions came from the Conservatives and UKIP, who voted against any attempt at making tax more
transparent “

Anneliese deserves credit for her perseverance in getting the committee’s recommendations through the European Parliament. She will be delighted at yesterday’s announcement by the European Commission to announce a new proposal to tackle tax avoidance and evasion from multinational corporations by forcing them to publish exactly where they make their profits and where they pay their tax.

The reality is that we need more MEPs like Anneliese who are prepared to stand up for openness and transparency in international financial dealings. We need more Labour MEPs!

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