• Devon County Council cabinet poised to decide on tighter tax avoidance rules for suppliers

    9th April 2016 | News | Claire
  • Currently, Devon County Council legally complies with government requirements on rooting out suppliers which have broken the law on evading tax. 

    The council also complies with government requirements on asking suppliers to disclose whether they have practiced aggressive tax avoidance on contracts worth over £5m.

    My motion, which is linked to the Fair Tax Mark campaign – see – http://www.fairtaxmark.net/who-we-are/ec/  – calls on the council to reduce the threshold for disclosing aggressive tax avoidance practices, down to contracts worth £164,000.

    There is a provision in government guidance to allow councils to implement this and the cost to the council in taking this approach would be minimal.

    The subject of tax avoidance has featured consistently in the headlines for months, with the government repeatedly criticised for not doing enough to tackle the issue. 

    Last week even the prime minister has been drawn into an international tax avoidance scandal, after admitting he had profited from holding offshore accounts.

    The public accounts committee issued a damning report last autumn blaming ministers and the inland revenue for its record on letting big business get away with paying derisory levels of tax to the British government.

    Google and Facebook in particular have been singled out as companies practising unacceptable tax avoidance while raking in huge profits from the UK.

    I organised a demonstration – see http://www.claire-wright.org/index.php/post/approx_50_protesters_from_across_east_devon_attended_tax_avoidance_mp_fundi – in February outside the Sidmouth conservative club, calling on East Devon’s MP, Hugo Swire, to exert his influence with ministers and get the rules tightened up.

    I really hope that the cabinet vote in favour of my motion given how important the issue of tax avoidance has become to people up and down the country.

    Most importantly, if every council tightened up its rules on supplier tax behaviour, the knock on effect should be more funding for public services.  Absolutely vital. Especially, in these austere times, with council budgets being cut to the bone.

    The cabinet meeting takes place on Wednesday 13 April, starting at 10.30am.  The live webcast can be viewed here – http://www.devoncc.public-i.tv/core/portal/home

    Photograph:  At my tax avoidance demonstration in February, outside Sidmouth’s conservative club.