Eight in ten Brits support tax avoidance crackdown

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Tax avoidance could prove to be a decisive election issue as a new ComRes poll of Great Britain reveals that eight in ten British adults support a number of new measures to crackdown on corporate tax avoidance.


The new research - commissioned by ActionAid - shows that the public want the next UK Government to crackdown on corporate tax avoidance.

There was strong support (84 percent) for ensuring UK-linked tax havens like the British Virgin Islands are more transparent. 

84 percent also agree that the next UK Government should take action to stop British companies avoiding tax in developing countries where they operate. These countries desperately need tax revenue to fund key public services. When schools and hospitals are underfunded it is often women and girls who are the worst affected as barriers prevent them accessing the education and healthcare they need.

Corporate transparency was also seen as vital with 83 percent saying British companies should publish how much tax they pay in every country where they do business, including in tax havens and in the world’s poorest places. 

This support was consistent across the political spectrum with 83 percent of likely Conservative voters,  87 percent of likely Labour voters and 92 percent of likely Liberal Democrat voters supporting tax transparency from British companies.

The research also showed that the public believes corporate tax avoidance is morally wrong and that companies are getting away with it far too easily. 

Nine out of ten British adults (89 percent) believe tax dodging by large companies is morally wrong, even if it is legal. 91 percent of likely Conservative voters, 94 percent of likely Liberal Democrat voters and 90 likely percent of Labour voters agreed that tax avoidance was immoral.

A vast majority of Britons (86 percent) agreed it was still too easy for large companies to avoid paying their tax.

ActionAid is calling for all parties to introduce new measures if elected to tackle UK corporate tax avoidance both in the UK and developing countries. ActionAid is calling on  the next Government to implement existing powers to require all UK companies to publicly reveal how much tax they pay in every country where they do business and to ensure UK-linked tax havens - the Overseas Territories - publicly reveal who owns the countless shell companies they host.

Ms Charlie Matthews, ActionAid Head of Advocacy, said: 

“Endless corporate scandals mean tax avoidance is a key election issue for millions of people across the UK. 

“Tough action on tax avoidance should be a top priority for politicians. It’s hugely popular with voters and could spearhead a global crackdown on corporate tax avoidance which could raise billions in the UK and developing countries”

“Developing countries are estimated to lose $200 billion a year. That money is badly needed to fight poverty. When key public services like schools and hospitals are starved of funding it is often the poorest women and girls who are shut out of education and healthcare. 

“The next UK Government should listen to the public and implement tough new measures to boost transparency and clamp down on corporate tax avoidance.”


  • For further information and interviews contact Richard Grange at ActionAid on 07716 178114 or at richard.grange@actionaid.org
  • ComRes interviewed 2,033 British adults aged 18+ online between the 5th and 7th May 2017.  Data are weighted by age, gender, socio-economic grade and region to be representative of all GB adults aged 18+. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables are available at www.comres.co.uk