Labour MEPs challenge Tories to back new EU measures against tax dodging

Labour MEPs today called on the Conservatives to give full backing to the European Commission’s plans to force countries to come clean on “sweetheart” tax deals with multinationals like Apple and Starbucks.

Ever since last year’s “Lux Leaks” revelations, Labour MEPs have led efforts in the European Parliament to force the Commission, and its President Jean-Claude Juncker, to take action to crack down on aggressive tax avoidance.

Today’s “tax transparency package” – which means EU countries now must automatically inform one another of sweetheart tax deals with multinational companies, and can no longer hide behind “commercial confidentiality” excuses – shows that this pressure is working.

Anneliese Dodds MEP, member of the European Parliament economic and monetary affairs committee, and Socialists & Democrats Group co-rapporteur of the parliament’s legislative initiative report on tax avoidance, said:

“This just goes to show that all the pressure Labour MEPs have been putting on the Commission has paid off. The message today is clear: countries should not be organising sweetheart tax deals with big companies, in secret, in ways that can be hugely damaging to other countries.

“But much more action is needed for us to stamp out aggressive tax avoidance once and for all – like agreeing a common definition of tax havens, and blacklisting firms that evade tax and the advisers that help them to do it.

“Those are the kind of measures I am going to be pushing for as I draft the European Parliament’s proposals for further action on tax evasion and avoidance.

“These are proposals everyone should get behind – we want to hear the Tories say they are committed to ending these tax practices once and for all too. If they don’t, we’ll know whose side they’re really on.”