Nine out of ten adults in marginal constituencies say tax dodging by large companies is morally wrong

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ActionAid issued the following press release overnight which I am happy to share:

Almost two thirds of those in key marginal constituencies believe political party promises to tackle tax avoidance have not gone far enough

Tax avoidance could prove to be a decisive election issue as a new ComRes poll of UK marginal constituencies reveals that nine out of ten adults (88 percent) in Britain’s marginal constituencies believe tax dodging by large companies is morally wrong, even if it is legal.

The poll, commissioned by the Tax Dodging Bill Campaign and released ahead of the Question Time leaders debate - also shows that almost two thirds of those in marginal constituencies (58 percent) disagree that UK political parties’ promises to tackle tax avoidance  have gone far enough.

A vast  majority of people (84 percent) living in 40 key battleground constituencies thought it was still too easy for large companies to avoid paying their tax in the UK.

In addition, the poll revealed that people are strongly opposed to tax avoidance in poor countries.  Four in five (81 percent) agreed tax dodging by large companies in developing countries harms ordinary people living in those countries.

Four in five (80 percent) said that it is important that large UK companies pay their fair share of tax in the developing countries where they operate.

Anger about corporate tax avoidance was shared by adults of all voting intentions – with 90 percent of Conservative voters, 94 percent of Labour voters and 87 percent of UKIP voters all agreeing it is morally wrong.

A similarly high proportion want companies to be open with the public, with almost nine in ten adults (86 per cent) saying it is important to them that large companies which operate in the UK ensure their accounts in all countries are transparent and publicly available.

The Tax Dodging Bill campaign is a coalition of 26 major UK and international development organisations including ActionAid, Oxfam, Christian Aid and the Equality Trust.

Jenny Ricks, Head of Campaigns at ActionAid said: “This poll shows that widespread anger about corporate tax avoidance both in the UK and in poor countries is showing no signs of going away.

“People still don’t believe that the promises made by political parties on tackling tax dodging go far enough. Pressure is mounting on all parties to act. That’s why the next government must introduce a Tax Dodging Bill – it could bring in billions in the UK and poor countries – money badly needed to fight poverty.”

Christine Allen, Head of Policy and Advocacy at Christian Aid, said: “The British public clearly understands what many companies do not – that corporate tax avoidance harms human beings and is morally wrong. Politicians of all parties should heed the extraordinary level of public demand for action against this scandal of our time.” 

Nick Bryer, Oxfam’s Head of UK Campaigns and Policy, said: “Taking tougher action on tax dodging should be a no-brainer for our politicians.

“It’s hugely popular with voters and would raise billions of pounds to tackle poverty both here in the UK and in poor countries.”

The campaign is calling for all parties to introduce a Tax Dodging Bill if elected within 100 days of government. The bill is a package of measures to tackle UK corporate tax dodging both in the UK and developing countries. The Tax Dodging Bill could generate at least £3.6 billion more a year in tax to fight poverty in the UK, and billions more for developing countries. 

ComRes surveyed 1,000 GB adults aged 18+ in 40 of the most marginal constituencies between March 26th and April 13th 2015. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables are available at www.comres.co.uk