More than four in five (85 per cent) British adults say tax avoidance by large companies is morally wrong even if it’s legal, according to a new ComRes poll carried out jointly by ActionAid and Christian Aid.
The poll found that four in five Britons (80 per cent) agree that large companies in the UK can avoid tax too easily.
People are also worried about tax avoidance in the world’s poorer countries. Four out of five British adults (78 per cent) say it’s important to them that large companies pay their fair share of tax in developing countries and three-quarters (73 per cent) say the next UK government should legislate to discourage UK companies from avoiding tax in these countries.
The poll was conducted in November by the research agency ComRes. It found that just one in five people (20 per cent) believe political parties have gone far enough in their promises to tackle tax avoidance by large companies.
Anger about tax avoidance was shared across supporters of all parties, with 85 per cent of LibDem and UKIP supporters, 88 per cent of Labour supporters and 90 per cent of Conservative supporters all agreeing that tax avoidance is morally wrong even if it is legal.
Toby Quantrill, Principal Economic Justice Adviser at Christian Aid, said: “This poll clearly shows mass public opposition to tax avoidance by large companies, both in the UK and in developing countries. It doesn’t matter which political party people support – they all are saying the same thing: that politicians of all parties are still not doing enough to stop tax dodging.”
He added: “There is much more the UK could do to reduce the problem of tax dodging by multinationals. It should make good on commitments to create a public registry of company owners and ensure that the UK-controlled tax havens (the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies) follow this lead. We can also get ahead of the game globally by ensuring that UK companies are required to report separately on their economic activities in every country in which they operate, so as to reveal any artificial operations that may be used to reduce their global tax bills.”
ActionAid Tax Policy Adviser Diarmid O’Sullivan said: “It is not just the UK that is affected by tax avoidance. The world’s poorest countries lose billions of dollars a year to tax dodging. This is money that could otherwise be used to pay for schools, hospitals and other essential public services.
“That’s why we are encouraging politicians of all parties to move past halfway measures and promise strong and comprehensive action, ahead of the next election to put an end to tax dodging.”