Steps in the right direction? Conservatives promise to tackle tax dodging | ActionAid UK

Last Sunday, the Conservative Party Conference kicked off in Birmingham. I was there with ActionAid, asking politicians what they were going to do to tackle tax avoidance in the run up to the 2015 election.

Desmond Swayne MP, Minister of State for International Development, pointing to his constituency where many of ActionAid’s supporters wrote to their councils and MPs asking them to take actions against tax avoidance
Desmond Swayne MP, Minister of State for International Development, pointing to his constituency where many of ActionAid’s supporters wrote to their councils and MPs asking them to take actions against tax avoidance

George Osborne promises tough action to tackle tax avoidance

On Monday, Chancellor George Osborne announced what has begun to be known as the ‘Google Tax’ – a measure that will be introduced by the government to prevent large technology firms such as Google and Starbucks from getting away with paying little or no tax in the UK.

We will have to wait until the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement to hear more details, but this is an encouraging step in the right direction to tackle tax avoidance on a global scale.

Diarmid O’Sullivan, ActionAid’s Policy Advisor summed it up by saying:

“The government has been prominent in calling for action on tax dodging in poor countries. We now urge it to help those countries design similar rules, while beefing up the UK’s own anti-tax haven rules.”

Making a buzz about tax dodging

Tax continued to be the hot topic at our joint event with Oxfam and Christian Aid that evening.

Michael Izza, Chief Executive of the ICAEW (The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales), Jim Waterson, the Deputy Editor of Buzzfeed, Oxfam’s Chief Executive Mark Goldring and Jeremy Lefroy MP all spoke to a packed room about what needs to be done to tackle the tax dodging that has a negative impact on developing countries.

It was great to see a mix of politicians, NGOs and companies all engaging with each other about this topic!

How can we keep the debate alive?

There was clearly a buzz about tax amongst politicians at conference, and the Prime Minister warned companies again in his closing speech: ‘We have cut your taxes – now you must pay what you owe’.

Now we need to make sure that we keep the attention on this topic up and encourage more debate about what actions the next government needs to take to make sure developing countries get at a better deal.

Help us to keep up the pressure on politicians – contact your councillor and MP and tell them how vital it is that more is done to tackle tax avoidance!

Ensuring Afghan women take their place at the debating table

Last but certainly not least we held a fringe event on the need to keep speaking out about the importance of securing Afghan women’s rights in the run up to the joint UK — Afghanistan government Conference in London this November; where the UK will decide its engagement in Afghanistan after our troops have withdrawn. It is essential that women participate into these discussions, and that everything is done to protect really hard won rights.

Find out about our latest campaign to tackle corporate tax dodging

ActionAid