Will George Osborne, Chancellor, publish his personal tax return ?

Tory Government puts the interests of multinational corporations at top of their priorities

The Government continues to say that the ONLY alternatives are spending cuts or tax increases. They always ignore the tax dodgers who never pay their whack – and they continue to put the interests of big business first over the British working people. Possibly if everyone paid their dues, there would be no need for any austerity.

The UK economy is in trouble as we well know – otherwise why the austerity – Government debt is increasing at about 3 per cent of GDP each year. To get that under control we need the corporations who avoid paying tax to pay what they are due not reach secret agreements with HMRC behind closed doors to pay trivial amounts of tax. The tax system probably needs complete overhaul, but that will not happen until we get a Labour Government. Until then the least we can push for is that the Government stops paying lip service to dealing with multinational corporations.

It is not just the UK that is losing out, but France and other EU countries that these corporations operate in. For example Netflix paid absolutely no UK corporation tax in 2014 despite being estimated to have around 4.5m UK subscribers. However, it did pay tax in Luxembourg, but at an equivalent rate of about 5 per cent. Vodafone made £1.97bn of profits in the year to March 31, 2015 but confirmed that it paid no UK corporation tax in 2014/15. Of the top 10 companies on the London Stock Exchange, six paid no UK corporation tax in the period covered by their latest annual accounts.

The EU has for far too long, been dragging it’s feet on this issue, but Labour MEPs together with other Socialist and Democrats in the European Parliament have been backing measures to combat corporate tax dodging. Needless to say the Tory MEPs have consistently voted against any measures of this type while paying lip service to the need for them.

The European Commission announced on 28 January 2016 proposals for new laws to tackle tax avoidance and evasion in the EU, which echo the recommendations of Labour MEP Anneliese Dodds’s recent report.

The plans include making more companies report, country-by-country, where they make their profits and where they pay their taxes. Other proposals include applying sanctions to tax havens and companies using them. The new legislation will mean EU countries will need to take a common approach to preventing tax avoidance and tackling tax havens. It’s no wonder that David Cameron wants the UK to be able to ignore EU directives, but still be a member of the EU.

John McDonnell said: “The mask has finally slipped. The Tories have been saying they want to clamp down on tax avoidance to the British people, but when they think our backs are turned they are telling their MEPs to oppose any measures to make it happen. The truth is they run a ‘don’t know, don’t care’ approach to tax avoidance.”

John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor, has written to George Osborne, Chancellor, to ask him for full disclosure and transparency of the Treasury’s tax deal with Google. See the letter in full [Here]. John has published his own tax return in the Sunday Mirror and has called on George Osborne to follow suit.

EU referendum voting – British Embassy Press release

EU referendum – Press release from British Embassy in Paris.

The British Embassy in Paris has launched a seven-day countdown campaign and competition to raise awareness of Overseas Voter Registration Day (OVRD) on 4th February among expatriates in France.

The press release is available [Here]

Why is ANY investor-state dispute mechanism needed?

On 16 September 2015 Cecilia Malmström, the European Union’s Commissioner for Trade, put forward a proposal to change the current policy on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The proposal was to replace the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) which is about allowing corporations to sue governments over laws which might affect their profits, with another system that would be used for all ongoing and future deals by the European Union (EU). This will be known as the Investor Court System (ICS).

TTIP is still being negotiated behind closed doors – in secret – so that the public find out as little about it as possible. Economic barriers between the EU and the United States are relatively low in any case, but the EU negotiating mandate of June 2013 for TTIP covers market access for goods and services by removing custom duties and gaining easier access to public markets and making it easier to invest. The hope is that it will produce jobs and growth. However, previous similar agreements with other areas have only showed slight benefits and real risks.

The agreement texts are being developed by 24 joint EU/US working groups who each consider a separate part of the agreement, in secret. Negotiations are held in cycles between the USA and Brussels with the first taking place from 7 to 12 July 2013 and the latest, the tenth took place from 13 to 17 July 2015. The EU is now producing reports on each negotiation, but these are little more than a very brief summary – not providing any detail at all. Worthless!

Many will find it incredible that Malmström has had to propose an alternative to ISDS at all. What is wrong with the existing courts that companies and corporations use all the time? Why set up any special system at all? There can only be one answer to that and it will certainly not support justice as we know it.

See Jeremy Corbyn in the House of Commons on 15 January 2015 when TTIP was debated: [Here]

Vivian Reding on European Justice Policy

Call to national leaders at the European Council by Vivian Reding

Viviane Reding
Vice-President of the European Commission, EU Justice Commissioner

Justice past, justice present and justice future – three messages to the European Council

Event at the Centre for European Policy Studies

Brussels, 20 June 2014

Main messages of the speech

My call to national leaders at the European Council next week: Don’t discuss only about ‘people’ (and the jobs they should get) but also focus on policies for people.

The Lisbon Treaty was a game-changer for EU justice policy: no more deals done by national governments by behind closed doors; law-making in this policy area has thus become a lot more democratic and transparent.

The 2010s justice policy developments were comparable to the developments in the Internal Market in the 1990s. Over the past four years through over 60 initiatives, we have laid the building blocks of a true European area of freedom, justice and security at the service of citizens.

Justice policy used to be a rather isolated area, often perceived as “a playground for lawyers”. Today, justice has become an instrument to boost economic growth and employment.

Justice policy used to be held hostage to security concerns, consisting mostly of knee-jerk reactions to the latest scare that left no room for the needs and concerns of citizens. We have changed that by putting citizens first.

EU Justice Policy in future needs strategic priorities to tackle challenges. I see three tasks: to build more trust, promote mobility and contribute to economic growth.

The new rule of law framework is now in place and operational. Respect for the rule of law is the prerequisite for the protection of all fundamental rights. Fundamental rights would be an empty shell without the rule of law.

EU citizens’ right to free movement is not up for negotiation. The four freedoms – people, goods, services and capital – go together. No one has a right to pick and choose

By 2020, a true European area of Justice should exist. Citizens and businesses deserve nothing less.

Download or view the full speech – [Here]

Speech: Justice past, justice present and justice future – three messages to the European Council
European Commission – SPEECH/14/481 20/06/2014

This text is taken from europa.eu Press releases database.