The number of MPs questioning just why the government is planning to make it easier for multinationals to use tax havens is growing by the day. Just yesterday, Mark Durkan quizzed Nick Clegg about the proposals, who was standing in for Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions:
Mark Durkan (Foyle) (SDLP):
Has the Deputy Prime Minister considered the implications of the Treasury’s planned changes to the controlled foreign companies rules, which will incentivise multinationals having recourse to tax havens? Opening this new tax loophole is estimated to cost developing countries some £4 billion in fair and much-needed revenue and the Exchequer here £1 billion in fair and much-needed revenue. Will this perverse and invidious change be corrected in forthcoming Budget measures?
The Deputy Prime Minister:
The hon. Gentleman raises an important issue. I have spoken to campaigners about this matter, and I know that ActionAid, for instance, has spoken to Treasury Ministers as well. Like all international tax matters, it is incredibly complicated once we get into the detail, but it is something that was not dealt with in the past 13 years and which we are now prepared to look into.
Our calls for an urgent rethink are clearly being heard across government.
The question now is will the Treasury listen to ActionAid (and the IMF, World Bank, OECD and UN) to do an impact assessment of any rule changes before they happen?