Doncaster MP Caroline Flint calls for greater transparency over multinational companies' tax records
Doncaster MP, Caroline Flint, has introduced a bill in Parliament calling on the Government to force large multinational companies to make their global tax records publicly available to all.
The 10-Minute Rule Bill, which was introduced today by the Don Valley MP. proposes that companies should have to file new-style financial reports with Companies House so that their global tax records are publicly available to all.
Ms Flint described the Bill as “One small step for this House…but a huge step forward for those who believe in tax justice, fairness and transparency.”
Speaking to the Free Press, Caroline said: “Every Doncaster business and Doncaster taxpayer wants to know that we all play be the same set of rules. If paying fair tax is good enough for us, it is only right that these multinational corporations pay fair taxes as well. My Bill is a start down that road.”
Ms Flint, who is also a members of the Public Accounts Committee that investigated the Google tax deal, told the Commons: “We live in a world where multinationals use transfer pricing and shell companies to shift profits from one country to another, usually low or no tax, country.”
She added: "Isn’t it extraordinary that in 2010, Bermuda had total reported corporate profits that were the equivalent of sixteen hundred and forty three per cent of their actual GDP? Could that be because Bermuda has a zero rate of corporation tax?” She then reminded MPs that this was “entirely lawful manipulation of different countries’ tax rules.”
Using Parliament’s Ten Minute Rule to present the Multinational Enterprises [Financial Transparency] Bill the day before the Budget, the MP said: “Multinationals should see this not as a threat, but as an opportunity to restore the reputation of their brand. They can be winners too.”
Pointing to the support for the Bill from NGOs including Oxfam, Christian Aid, ActionAid and CAFOD, and the backing of the Fair Tax Mark and Tax Justice Network, Ms Flint said: “Charities say that developing countries lose more in potential revenue each year owing to corporate tax dodging than the amount given annually in overseas aid by all richer countries. Aid is vital for poorer nations, but just as important is a hand up, not just a hand out. That won’t happen unless we force these companies to come clean.”
The Bill has the backing of the thirteen members of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, and MPs from six parties – Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, SNP, SDLP and Green Party. In total, 49 MPs have backed the Bill.