Monday, 5 July 2010

Tax Havens

Here's my speech on Motion 2 at the National Labour Link Forum. The excellent motion from Eastern Region passed unanimously and commits the Labour Link to push for more information sharing and tax harmonisation to stop the rich getting away without paying their fair share.

Vice-Chair, Forum, Andy Dowland, National Labour Link Committee pleased to express the National Committee’s full support of this motion and thanking the Eastern Region for submitting it.

It is said that “Taxes are the price we pay to live in a civilised society”. Multinational corporations reap the benefits of our civilised society. We educate their future employees, provide healthcare to them when they are sick, build infrastructure that they can use and have established a rule of law to protect their assets. But some corporations do not wish to pay the price to sustain that society.

To give just one example: Over the last two years, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation reported an operating loss of 270 million US Dollars, but by moving money here, money there, claiming rebates where they could and paying taxes only when it was absolutely necessary, they turned that loss into a 2 billion dollar profit.
I don’t think David Cameron’s going to bother changing that cosy arrangement.

Now it’s not just multinationals that can play this game – While it might be difficult to tell where News Corporation are based, our football clubs are clearly based out of one town or city. Not really. Tottenham aren’t based in London, the company’s are based in the Bahamas, Rangers aren’t based in Glasgow, their home is Jersey. Our host city’s own team Leeds United. Possibly based in the Cayman Islands but no-one’s quite sure, least of all their Chairman, who had to tell a court that he didn’t have the foggiest idea who owns the club.

14 members of the Premier League not paying their fair share of tax in the country were they do all their business. Leaving it to their fans and the rest of us to pay for the civilised society that they benefit from.

Do the Tax Havens benefit? No, they get into the position of being dependent on a few rich men. When the Belize authorities investigated Lord Ashcroft’s bank for alleged money-laundering, they halted the case for fear that he might withdraw from Belize and wreck their economy. The likes of Lord Ashcroft don’t want tax havens like Belize to develop economically because then their power would be ended.

As the motion says a multilateral approach is needed. The last Labour Government made some steps in that direction. Now we must shame the Coalition into continuing that work.

More information

More transparency

More tax paid by the rich so the poor don’t have to subsidise them.

Please support this motion.

1 comment:

Henry said...

*claps*

Well Said Mr Dowland