Labour MEPs: May’s tough talk on tax dodging will mean nothing if UK opts out of EU anti-tax avoidance measures

Labour MEPs warned today that Theresa May’s tough talk on tax dodging in her Conservative Party conference speech will be meaningless if the UK opts out of EU anti-tax avoidance measures post-Brexit.

Anneliese Dodds MEP, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on taxation, said:

“The prime minister today said “if you’re a tax dodger, we’re coming after you” – yet, while the European Union is taking real action to propose and institute new laws to tackle tax avoidance, the UK government has failed to take a lead, and she has failed to say what exactly it will do.

“When we think about Britain’s post-EU future, we have to make absolutely sure major EU advances in the fight against tax avoidance are not lost – including recent measures like better connecting anti-money laundering rules with anti-tax avoidance rules, improving information exchange on beneficial ownership, increasing oversight of the enablers and promoters of aggressive tax planning, promoting higher tax good governance standards worldwide, and improving the protection of whistleblowers.

“The government should guarantee that, whatever the final shape of our relationship with the EU, the UK continues to uphold the very high standards set by the EU when it comes to fighting for tax justice.”

Ms Dodds added:

“As well as her failure to specify what her government will do to tackle tax dodging, Theresa May’s comments in her speech on Single Market access are deeply worrying. Just today, a report warned that 71,000 jobs and £10 billion could be lost in tax revenue in the event of a ‘Hard Brexit’ – and this is in the financial sector alone.

“This is money that will not be used to boost investment in schools and hospitals and reverse the painful cuts from Tory austerity. The prime minister may bang on about patriotism and pride, but there’s nothing patriotic about leaving the Single Market and driving the economy over the cliff, leading to underinvestment in our public services, job losses and a loss of influence for Britain in the world.”