Southend Council cabinet back Labour motion against tax dodging

The cabinet of Southend Borough Council has voted to back a motion proposed by Labour councillor Cheryl Nevin, seconded by fellow Milton councillor and Labour candidate for Southend West, Julian Ware-Lane, criticising the government’s failure to tackle tax avoidance.

The motion notes that the Treasury loses up to £120 billion of tax due to tax avoidance by multinational corporations, whilst council budgets are stretched through austerity. Southend has seen its budget cut by almost £12 million for 2015/16 alone. It calls upon the government to take action to end the large-scale avoidance of tax.

Cllr Nevin was approached by a number of Southend residents asking her to support the motion, which is part of Action Aid’s “Towns against Tax Dodging campaign”.

Cheryl said, “I am delighted that the cross-party cabinet has seen the benefits this motion will bring to our town, and hope that this will put pressure on the government to reverse the trend of cutting tax collector posts across the UK. The money lost due to tax dodging could ease the strain of cuts on Southend, and many councils like it.”

Julian Ware-Lane said, “I was delighted to be able to endorse Cllr Nevin’s motion. Tax dodging robs local authorities of funds that would be spent on services such as libraries and care homes. We must have a robust and fair tax system.”

More details about the ActionAid campaign can be found at: http://campaigns.actionaid.org.uk/page/speakout/townsagainsttaxdodging_councils

Here is the motion:

This Council resolves to support Action Aid’s campaign TOWNS AGAINST TAX DODGING, for tax justice, supporting the motion:

“While many ordinary people face falling household income and rising costs of living, some multinational companies are avoiding billions of pounds of tax from a tax system that fails to make them pay their fair share. Local governments in developing countries and the UK alike would benefit from a fairer tax system where multinational companies pay their fair share, enabling authorities around the world to provide quality public services. The UK government must listen to the strength of public feeling and act to end the injustice of tax dodging by large multinational companies, in developing countries and the UK.”

The council notes:

–‐ It has been estimated that the UK Treasury loses as much as £12 billion, although recent estimates from PWC put it much higher at £120billion in tax dodging by multinational companies every year – enough to significantly reduce the UK national deficit which is putting such pressure on Local Council budgets.

—Developing countries lose three times more to tax dodging than they receive in aid each year, enough to give a basic education to the 57 million children currently missing out.

–‐ The UK has a particular responsibility to end tax dodging, in the 1 in 5 world’s tax havens in the British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.

–‐ The use of tax havens by UK companies is rife, with 98 of the FTSE 100 companies routinely using tax havens.

–‐ Large multinational companies pay as little as 5% in corporate taxes globally, while smaller businesses pay up to 30%, this cannot be right, or morally justified.

This council believes:

–‐ As a local authority we have a duty to provide the best possible public services. This council has faced significant cuts to services which is set to continue for future years, which is directly impacting disproportionately on the poorest and most deprived wards. Our ability to maintain quality local services would be significantly enhanced by the increased revenues from the Government tackling tax dodging.

—This local authority believe that Southend-on-Sea would benefit from any incoming Government redeployment of public sector staff away from London in supporting of this motion to collect lost tax.

–‐ All who benefit from public spending should contribute their fair share.

–‐ The UK must take a lead role in creating a fairer tax system and combating tax dodging.

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