John Cridland of the CBI is very confused about tax havens, their secrecy and their use by British multinationals

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John Cridland of the CBI was speaking at David Cameron's favour think tank this morning - Policy Exchange. According to the notes the CBI issued he said:

“UK businesses need to be competitive on the world stage and are perfectly entitled to operate in low-tax jurisdictions for legitimate business purposes.

“We need to be clear what we mean by so-called tax havens. I do not consider a low-tax regime with transparency a tax haven. But I do believe that there must be transparency between tax regimes in order to avoid inappropriate arrangements hiding behind tax secrecy.

“Many countries have fully transparent tax systems and also have low headline tax rates: the Netherlands and Ireland are two prime examples. These jurisdictions, just like our own, are competing for mobile capital and for intellectual property.”

I'm also told he said that the taxes companies pay are due as payment for their licence to operate.

So let's be clear, does he condemn companies like Microsoft and Apple in Ireland who do not put their accounts on public record by using loopholes in the law?

And does he condemn the use by UK multinational corporations of subsidiaries in Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Cayman, the BVI and so many more places where of course no accounts are ever required on public record and no tax is paid and where we know nothing of what happens because the current form of accounts required from multinational corporations hides the transactions in all these companies completely from view meaning we literally have no idea at all how much profit is moved by the 99% of UK FTSE 100 companies who use these places out of the UK tax net?

Let me know John.

And tell me when you'll be endorsing the full version of country-by-country reporting which would provide the transparency you espouse.

PS I'm sending the chair of his tax committee a copy of this blog. Maybe the CBI would like to respond?