Country-by-country reporting in parliament

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From Hansard yesterday:

Stephen Timms (Shadow Minister): My hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington was right to pay tribute to the work of Richard Murphy and the tax justice campaign. I want to pay particular tribute to Richard Murphy for developing, and first arguing for, the idea of country-by-country reporting. We are debating the avoidance, and indeed evasion, of corporation tax, and of course, that is a matter not only for the UK but for developing countries on a large scale as well. Richard Murphy was the first person to argue that companies should report, on a country-by-country basis, the profits that they make in each country and the tax that they pay in each country, so that everyone can see if there is a mismatch between the two.

The previous Government supported that call, and I am pleased that the OECD is taking the matter up. I think that we are now going to see some progress on that front, thanks to Richard’s efforts. I note from his blog that he has been on the receiving end of some unwarranted online harassment recently on account of his work. I certainly wish him well in what he is doing.

In response this from David Gauke, the Minister:

The right hon. Member for East Ham referred to country-by-country reporting, and we continue to consider whether there is a practical way forward in that regard. If we are to have country-by-country reporting, however, double taxation relief becomes all the more important.

Which I am afraid shows just how little he understands the point. Country-by-country reporting and double tax relief are related points, but full disclosure provisions have already been developed for double tax relief in accounting – and which my work in The Missing Billions has taken into account. As such this was cheap point scoring and not a serious contribution to debate, unfortunately.