I’m blogging from the House of Commons where I am speaking at a meeting organised by PCS and War on Want on tax justice.
I’ve just been challenged by Michael Meacher MP to outline a plan of what I would do if I was Gordon Brown between now and the G20, next Wednesday. My response was this:
- The UK should admit that the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories are ours – as the current crisis in The Turks & Caicos have proven in the last week, and that we can therefore reform them;
- Publish the terms of reference for the Foot Commission into UK tax havens so we know that reform is going to happen;
- Announce that the forthcoming banking code will compulsorily ban banks from undertaking structured tax avoidance;
- Announce that this ban will be extended to all UK companies through a general anti-avoidance provision being enacted in the UK;
- Support the call for country by country reporting which will make all companies go on record about their use of tax havens;
- Announce an end to HMRC redundancies so the resources are available to deal with automatic information exchange which we so badly need;
- Announce unconditional support for the amended EU Savings Tax Directive which would shatter the use of offshore structures in many places – and that we will impose this on our own tax havens, as we can.
All of that is possible.
None require international support.
All would offer clear indication of leadership that would set an example to all at the G20, and all those watching it.