An end to tax evasion in developing countries is an ongoing aim of the IF Campaign that VinB was proud to support all the way to Hyde Park. Now we are wondering where things are up to on the home front.
The PM played a key role in highlighting the effects of corporate tax evasion on developing countries that culminated in the G8 countries agreeing some broad principles for the way forward. All the while, amid the huffing and puffing and high minded indignation that caught the headlines ministers were putting in place an array of tax breaks and sweetners. One being the so called Black Box tax breaks designed to attract research and development companies to the UK and last week it was announced that home grown mining company Cuadrilla are to receive tax breaks for shale gas extraction. Not forgetting of course the planned annual reduction of Corporation Tax down to 20%. One cannot but wonder about the credibility that will be attributed to the UK by fellow G8/20 members given the gap between our rhetoric and action.
On a slightly more positive note Business Minister Vince Cable has just published a discussion document on proposals to increase company transparency, though it is criticized as being too wishy-washy. Hope is at hand with the more meaty United Kingdom Corporate and Individual Tax and Financial Transparency Bill introduced by Labour minister, Michael Meacher, and which has its second reading in September.
It will be interesting to see what amendments are made to the Bill given the likely conflict of interests amongst the MP’s and pressure from business lobbying groups. Reforming taxation is an eye watering task given its huge complexity. Some would say better to start again than try to fix something that is broken.