A Liberal Democrat motion to support he Action Aid campaign to end tax dodging was passed today at West Dorset District Council with only the Conservative Executive voting against it. Council Leader, Anthony Alford, claimed the motion did not achieve anything that wasn't already being done.
However, Cllr Ros Kayes, our parliamentary candidate, argued that the issue was about taking a stance, naming and shaming tax avoiders and creating a climate in which corporate tax avoidance is seen as something shameful rather than as something to be applauded.
Ros said: "This is not so much about getting more money for local government as about creating a climate of change in which we recognise our Interdependency with emerging economies worldwide. Just as companies like Primark have attracted criticism for using child labour in the developing world, so should Boots attract criticism for having avoided tax of £1 billion in the UK over a 6 year period- a sum which could have employed 78,000 NHS nurses were it to have been paid in Corporation Tax. It also seems a case of double standards when we as a council pursue people on a low income for not paying their council tax, but are not prepared to support a motion like this which focuses on the real tax dodgers."
"I'm so pleased Council has agreed to support this " said Cllr Caroline Payne, who tabled the motion."This is something that really matters to the public. It's good for them to see that local councillors support their concerns."
Cllr Tim Harries said "This is a matter of principle. We think tax dodging is wrong. If ever there was a motion that we could all be united on then this is it."
Cllr Stella Jones added, "Government is doing something but clearly not enough. The UK government is responsible for 1 in 5 tax havens in the world through its Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories. Last year Government promised to make sure the public will be able to identify the real owners of UK companies. It now needs to ensure that tax haven authorities do the same."