Christian Aid welcomes progress towards curbing tax abuse

By agency reporter
June 29, 2016

A new law to help curb multinational tax abuse across the world came close to winning House of Commons approval yesterday (28 June 2016), after 273 MPs from all the major parties voted in favour of the change.

“This is a stunning result which gives us huge encouragement to keep pushing for a reform that is so urgently needed by people everywhere,” said Simon Kirkland, UK Political Adviser at Christian Aid.

“We are delighted to have got this far, thanks to the support of MPs across all many different parties, and we will now renew our efforts to change the law.

"Multinationals cannot be allowed to hide their finances from public scrutiny any longer.”

Yesterday's vote on the legal reform, which has been dubbed #ShowMeTheMoney, was just 22 votes short of the number needed for victory.

Had it won Parliamentary approval, the amendment to the Finance Bill would have required multinational companies above a certain size to publish information that they already have to give the UK taxman, about key details of their business in each country where they operate.

Such information can reveal suspicious patterns which warrant further investigation and may reflect a firm’s failure to pay its fair share of tax in all the countries where it operates.

Caroline Flint, MP for Don Valley, tabled the amendment, which was in turn backed by MPs from the Conservatives, UKIP, the Liberal Democrats, Labour, the Scottish Nationalists, the Greens, Plaid Cymru and the SDLP. Others supporting the amendment included Christian Aid, Oxfam, Save the Children, ActionAid and the Tax Justice Network.

The Commons vote came just days before the UK unveils its new public register of UK companies' real, flesh-and-blood owners. The public register is a hugely important landmark on the road towards greater financial transparency, just as the passage of the #ShowMeTheMoney amendment would have been.

Christian Aid expects any new government to sustain the UK's movement towards more transparency, whatever its political colours.

* Christian Aid http://www.christianaid.org.uk/index.aspx

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