Time for Scotland to stop buying from tax dodging companies

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I was pleased to get this press release this afternoon:

UNISON Scotland today urged the Scottish Government to ban companies involved in tax dodging from being eligible for public contracts.

The public services union said that Ministers should use their forthcoming Procurement Reform Bill to take innovative action against companies using tax havens and other forms of tax dodging.

Scottish Organiser Dave Watson said: “It is entirely wrong that companies seeking to avoid paying their fair share of tax should be awarded public contracts.

“Public bodies in Scotland spend nearly £11 billion annually through procurement. This Bill offers ways to use that spending to deliver local social, economic and environmental benefits.

“We think this is an important opportunity to do what some European cities such as Helsinki and Paris are already doing, in acting against companies using tax havens.

“Our message to the Scottish Government is that they should adopt a tax justice approach, finding ways, with appropriate legal advice, to bar companies involved in tax dodging from being eligible to bid.

Recently public outrage has focused on big-name companies like Google, Amazon and Starbucks paying miniscule amounts of tax. Many companies investing in PPP/PFI projects are registered in tax havens.

UNISON believes that community benefit clauses could be used to argue that the community will benefit from companies paying proper levels of taxes.

Dave added: “This Bill also offers opportunities to strengthen labour rights and workforce protections, to extend the Living Wage to private sector employees on public contracts and to exclude companies involved in blacklisting trade unionists from bidding for public contracts. 

“And, of course, public procurement policies must contribute properly to Scotland’s climate change targets and must support a ‘Just Transition’ to a low carbon economy.”

I might add I think this applies to the rest of the UK as well.