Author Archives: Tom Morrison

Transparency after Brexit?

 This agreement is a further step towards more openness and better cooperation, facilitating fairer and more effective taxation throughout the EU.” 

With those words, Pierre Moscovici, the commissioner responsible for financial affairs and taxation declared Europe as a ‘hallmark’ of financial transparency and openness. 

Last March, the member states of the EU reached an agreement to create a more transparent environment for tax advisers, accountants and other financial workers and services. Amongst a context that saw leaks from the Panama papers, this agreement set a standard in how financial corruption and tax avoidance would be tackled, shining a light on those that attempted to subvert their financial responsibilities. The process would be up and running in 2020, with information being exchanged between member states from October that year.

It is imperative that the United Kingdom does not renege on this responsibility, regardless of what happens post-March 2019. 

Corporation tax is a necessary evil. Whilst the drive for economic growth and profit has seen companies flourish, innovate and create jobs – those same companies are built on the foundations laid by our society. 

Our schools train the workers of the future, our infrastructure allows for the smooth movement and running of day-today business activities, and our emergency services protect property and keeps workforces in good health. All of these things cost money and taxation is a fair way to pay for these ‘hidden’ expenses. 

To avoid paying what is right is nothing short of theft. The EU’s transparency directive was a logical way of ensuring that there would be no hiding place for individuals or organisations not paying their fair share.

Therefore, the Liberal Democrats need to ensure that there are plans in place to ensure that these directives are not lost, regardless of what happens with Brexit.

Let’s put this in perspective: The UK has the largest number of offshore entities in Europe with around 18,000. The second largest is Luxembourg with nearly 11,000. With the UK economy predicted to fall next year – imagine the financial support available if some of these organisations paid what was fair?

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 5 Comments

The Liberal Democrats must own the Northern Powerhouse 

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I was delighted to chair Liberal Reform’s panel discussion at Spring Conference with Wera Hobhouse MP, Laura Gordon (PPC for Sheffield Hallam) and Stephen Smith (Transport for the North). The debate explored the opportunities, threats and politics surrounding the Northern Powerhouse agenda and how the Liberal Democrats should take on the challenge of owning the agenda going forward.

The statistics speak for themselves: as a region, the North has an economic worth of around £304bn and would be the 10th largest economy in Europe if it were a single city. However, the region is grossly underperforming and whilst the initial objectives of the Northern Powerhouse agenda was to rebalance the UK economy, since Theresa May’s election as Prime Minister the Conservatives seemed to have cooled on this subject.

Elsewhere, Labour is nowhere. Calling the Northern Powerhouse a “toxic brand”, Labour’s devolution spokesperson Jim McMahon has offered very little on how the North can grow.

It was only last week that Ed Cox resigned as the Director of the IPPR North and stated that, “neither of the mainstream Westminster parties have properly grasped the critical importance of devolution in unlocking the nation’s potential and their own attempts to govern”.

It is clear that the Liberal Democrats are the only party with the know-how to deliver true economic growth and devolution to the North.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 28 Comments

A referendum on the Brexit deal is key, not growing other parties.

You know, I never understood why you gun control people don’t all join the NRA. They’ve got two million members. You bring three million to the next meeting, call a vote. All those in favour of tossing guns… bam! Move on.

It is one of the most memorable lines in every political anorak’s favourite TV show, The West Wing. Although steeped in high fantasy, the strategy from Congressman Skinner does present some food for thought – if you want to defeat your enemy, why not do it from within? It’ll be less bloody, it may even mean a quicker and more efficient way to smash your political nemesis into irrelevance.

These sentiments, in some part, were echoed by my friend and former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg in the Observer. In his comment piece he states that anti-Brexit Labour-inclined voters, and their Conservative counterparts, should join their respective parties to change the direction of each organisation and, in turn, the future of the country.

These voters, argues Nick, should then lobby their MPs, leaders and change the debate at conferences to make sure that Britain’s spiral into a Brexit self-harm is stopped.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 15 Comments

Opinion: Human Rights – A call to arms

“David Cameron will launch a 100-day policy offensive…” states the Sunday Times, reporting on the Conservatives’ predicted assault on Europe and Human Rights just days after they secured the most surprising election victory in living memory.

While Liberal Democrat and Labour Party opinion-formers are calling for internal debates on the future of their respective parties, the Conservatives are moving in and preparing to push through legislation that is dangerous, destructive and most of all, frightening.

The Human Rights Act (HRA) should be esteemed as highly as the NHS. Receiving Royal Assent in 1998, the HRA is, in my view, the cornerstone of …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 16 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 26th Mar - 1:04am
    David Raw The very disturbing news, this weekend, the very obvious double standards in the responses of some, tolerance and such that are welcome, but...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 26th Mar - 12:58am
    Denis, no way are my constructive and reasonable comments really sour, a reflection on how little criticism of the EU is ever on the Liberal...
  • User AvatarRoland 26th Mar - 12:56am
    >Does Parliament now take control? Parliament has now taken control - interesting times... Now can Parliament follow through and deliver a final verdict and directive...
  • User AvatarMichael 25th Mar - 11:50pm
    "Team Europe grandee Guy Verhofstadt championed the 48% during the Brexit negotiations and brought credence to plans to create meaningful European Citizenship" - the only...
  • User AvatarMatt (bristol) 25th Mar - 11:14pm
    Denis, I'd love to believe that you've confused me with one of the other Matts, several of whom are quite sour, but it is possible...
  • User AvatarAndrew McCaig 25th Mar - 10:25pm
    Lorenzo, I am all for decisions to be taken at the lowest possible level. However we now live in a world where our lives are...