8 Sep 2011

Tax Havens: more than half of companies winning contracts have subsidiaries

Cartoon by Khalil Bendib in Corporate Watch
Earlier this year I put together 6 videos of the excellent talk re Tax Havens in Stroud - they are pretty easy viewing and astonishing in what they say - see here. I've also continued to cover this issue - see for example details of the report here that showed we are losing £18bn every year to tax havens. Well now another report by Ethical Consumer magazine shows that more than half of the private companies winning Government contracts have subsidiaries in tax havens!

Out of the 20 biggest companies being awarded public service contracts, 13 have subsidiaries in places usually used to minimise tax bills. Tim Hunt, the report's co-author, said: "At a time when the Government is implementing the biggest cuts to public spending in living memory, the Government should demand that companies being awarded contracts should not be allowed to also make use of tax havens."

Too right!!

Justin Bowden, national officer of the GMB union, added: "The still ongoing fiasco at Southern Cross showed the world what can happen to both taxpayers' money and those dependent on public services - like the elderly and vulnerable - when public services are left to unregulated businesses hidden behind offshore tax havens. These services shouldn't be hived off in the first place, and they certainly shouldn't be hived off to any company not resident in the UK and not paying its proper share of tax to the UK Government."

As an aside the local Green Party commented on Southern Cross - see here.

Meanwhile Richard Murphy, from the Tax Justice Network, said of the new report: "These findings are troubling, but seem to form part of a pattern that now appears deliberate. We're seeing taxpayers' money now being captured by private corporations who are using it for the benefit of a few in society at a cost to the great many ordinary people who're paying the price through reduced services, benefits and even healthcare, and all at the cost of increased tax."

Caroline Lucas MP, the leader of the Green Party, also commented on the new report saying: "It is completely unacceptable that the Government is paying no regard to the social and environmental records of the companies who are being awarded contracts to run our public services, and it completely undermines their rhetoric about aspiring to be the greenest Government."

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