Yorkshire and Humber MEP backs strong action on tax dodgers

Linda McAvan

Linda McAvan

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Labour Euro MPs today voted for strong proposals to tackle tax dodgers, calling for action to stem the 1 trillion Euros (850 billion pounds) lost to public finances due to tax fraud and avoidance.

MEP for Yorkshire and Humber, Linda McAvan, said it was time to get tough on those intent on avoiding tax and told big businesses who say stop the talk on tax avoidance should stop trying to find ways around paying their fair share of tax.

She added: “According to HMRC figures, in the UK alone nine billion pounds is lost every year, which could pay for the construction of more than 600 new schools or over 50 new hospitals or pay the annual salaries of over 330,000 police officers.”

In a European Parliament vote today Labour Euro MPs backed a range of proposals, including calls for naming and shaming those sheltering tax evaders by creating a EU wide black list of tax havens,

She said companies avoiding tax should not to be awarded public contracts, more resources to be delivered to tax authorities to tackle tax dodgers and

an end to aggressive tax planning by companies trying to avoid paying tax and an obligation on companies to publish a single figure for the amount of tax paid in each EU country.

Conservative MEPs refused to back proposals to bring greater transparency to multinationals’ tax affairs by requiring them to publish a single figure for the tax they pay in each country. Ms McAvan said this would help to shed light on the practice of companies using their international operations to avoid paying their fair share of tax such as the recent high profile cases involving Google, Amazon and Starbucks.

Labour’s leader in the European Parliament, Glenis Willmott MEP, called on the British government to use the European summit (on Wednesday, May 22) to take international action to tackle tax avoidance and evasion.

She said: “We call on David Cameron to match his words with tough action. The UK Government claims that tax avoidance is a key priority for their presidency of the G8 yet their lack of action shows it is all rhetoric.

“We’ve made it clear today that there are cross-border solutions that can be used to tackle companies that don’t want to pay their fair share. Here’s an issue on which international cooperation is essential, but with Cameron under pressure from his backbenchers, will he deliver anything but warm words?”

Labour’s Economic affairs spokeswoman, Arlene McCarthy MEP, added: “As for UKIP, Nigel Farage claims to be ‘free thinking’ but he is instead encouraging free loading by tax dodgers. Today he could have backed proposals to crack down on tax evaders and avoiders – but his colleagues voted against the proposals and he left before the end of the vote.”