The Tories are all talk when it comes to tackling tax avoidance

A report tackling tax avoidance and evasion has been voted for by almost all political parties in the European Parliament – except for British Conservatives, writes Anneliese Dodds MEP, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on taxation.

Today the National Audit Office announced £16 billion is going uncollected every year in the UK. That’s £16bn that could be spent on housing, healthcare and education.

The news comes just 24 hours after the European Parliament overwhelming approved my report aimed at tackling tax avoidance and evasion by a majority of 500-221. The report has been voted for by almost all political parties in the European Parliament… except for British Conservatives.

I find it staggering they can keep seeking headlines by claiming they care about tax fiddling, yet whenever there is an actual opportunity to do something about the problem, they vote it down. This is in addition to the closure of 153 tax offices that will already harm HMRC’s ability to combat tax avoidance.

Unless we work with our European colleagues to combat unfair tax practices we will achieve nothing. David Cameron needs to talk to his MEPs and make clear to them that aggressive tax avoidance and evasion cost the UK economy £16bn every year that is desperately needed to help fund infrastructure and help the national finances.

Now that my report has been passed by the parliament, we can set about putting pressure on the European Commission to make sure it is fully implemented. The report is split into three sections: transparency, coordination, and convergence, each with a series of recommendations.

By getting the Commission to adopt these recommendations we can make a difference in areas where the Tories refuse to take action. Only by working with other European countries can we get to the root of the problem of people hiding their money and taxable profits abroad.

In an era where the UK government is telling people to tighten their purse strings and pay their share, it is not fair to let some multinational businesses get away with contributing next to nothing.

Anneliese Dodds MEP is the co-rapporteur on the European Parliament report, “Bringing transparency, coordination and convergence to corporate tax policies”, which was passed by MEPs this week.

This blog originally appeared on Left Foot Forward.