Stephen Williams MP writes… Making tax taxing again – 2013 is the Year of Tax Justice

“I do believe that as leaders, we all have a common interest in being able to tell our taxpayers who work hard and pay their fair share of taxes, that we will make sure others do the same…But to achieve this will require strong political leadership…I hope we can be ambitious.”
(David Cameron, Prime Minister’s Letter to G8 Leaders, 2 January 2013)

This year the UK holds the Presidency of the G8, with the world’s top leaders coming to Lough Erne in Northern Ireland in June. This is a momentous and perfectly timed opportunity to turn public anger, evident around the globe, into concrete action to tackle tax dodging at home and abroad. As Lib Dem Treasury spokesperson I have led the campaign for Fairer Tax, leading the campaign against named and shamed tax dodgers (despite its philanthropic investment, Starbucks cannot claim to invest in our communities until it pays its fair share) and arguing for greater action to protect developing countries from multinational tax dodging. It is vital that, as we become the first British government to fulfil the 0.7% commitment in aid spending, UK taxes do not fill a hole left by multinational tax dodging in aid recipients’ national budgets.

The recent report by Action Aid on Associated British Food’s tax affairs in Zambia is the straw that came after the camel’s back broke; tax is in vogue but not in the way we’d like it to be (I would prefer to talk about the £660 tax cut which the Lib Dems have delivered for 20m of the poorest tax payers and the 2.2m of the very poorest we’ve taken out of the tax system completely…). Now is the time for action, not words. That is why I have written to the Prime Minister and Chancellor to ensure they know that the Liberal Democrats will support tough and effective action on multinational tax dodging as part of our G8 Presidency.

On Wednesday at PMQs, I asked David Cameron again to make tax justice a priority at the G8. I was mildly surprised to get a positive response:

I also agree with the issue he raises with respect to tax transparency, and that is why the Government are putting it at the head of our G8 agenda for the meeting that will take place in June at Lough Erne in Northern Ireland. One of the great things about this agenda is that it brings together developed and developing countries with a shared agenda that is good for both.

I have submitted a motion to our Party’s Spring Conference to toughen our own policy on corporate tax affairs and hope it will be passed by members so that we can build up our campaign for concrete action in Lough Erne in June. We need international action to tackle a multinational problem; these corporations cannot continue to take resources out of communities, in the UK and elsewhere. The G8 has the public’s support to take tough action and I will be doing all I can to make sure it is ambitious.

* Stephen Williams is the MP for Bristol West and is Minister for Communities and Local Government.

Read more by or more about , , , or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Advert

One Comment

  • You mean the ActionAid report that showed ABF were paying no tax in Zambia because they benefit from a government-backed incentive regime and claim capital allowances on the factory they’ve built there (employing hundreds of local people)? ActionAid are a deeply discredited bunch of rabble rousers who are happy to publish lies in the interests of creating a false story and you do your argument no favours by quoting them
    http://www.abf.co.uk/media/news/2013/media_statement_on_actionaid_report

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDuncan Greenland 24th Jul - 11:24am
    if through this vehicle a strong enough public consensus can be created behind electoral reform to achieve fairer votes for Westminster,then progress on the other...
  • User AvatarAndrew McCaig 24th Jul - 11:16am
    Malc Polls showed 60% wanted reform after the 2015 general election.. I agree that electoral reform only comes to the fore after yet another ridiculous...
  • User AvatarCatherine Jane Crosland 24th Jul - 11:11am
    @Gareth Wilson Well, everyone will have to make up their own mind about this, but I feel it would be much better to "get the...
  • User AvatarAndrew McCaig 24th Jul - 11:05am
    Most people who voted in 2011 thought they were voting in a referendum on Nick Clegg, as far as I could see... meanwhile lifelong supporters...
  • User Avatarexpats 24th Jul - 11:01am
    john 24th Jul '16 - 1:09am..............Reality says that an awful lot of a la carte will be available from the EU ( including immigration controls)...
  • User AvatarGareth Wilson 24th Jul - 10:58am
    @Catherine Jane Crossland "It is likely that in many constituencies, More United will choose a Labour, Green, or even Conservative candidate, who, with the support...
Sun 24th Jul 2016
Tue 26th Jul 2016
Thu 28th Jul 2016
Sat 30th Jul 2016
Mon 1st Aug 2016
Sat 6th Aug 2016
Wed 10th Aug 2016
Fri 12th Aug 2016
19:00
Thu 18th Aug 2016