News | We must finally end global scourge of tax dodging

We must finally end global scourge of tax dodging

SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has said the huge leak of confidential documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca should be a wake-up call for the British government to finally call time on the rich and powerful using tax havens to hide their wealth.

Mr Durkan, who is Secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Anti-Corruption, has supported the introduction of a new Tax Dodging Bill at Westminster and sponsored cross-party parliamentary motions urging the government to finally call time on tax havens.

He said: “One in five tax havens worldwide are under UK jurisdiction. However, while all of the British Overseas Territories have committed to joining the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, none have actually done so and no time-frame has been set in which they will do so.

“I am therefore calling on the government to take action both domestically and internationally to tackle the use of tax havens by multinational companies and wealthy individuals operating in the UK or in territories under its jurisdiction.

“The SDLP have consistently condemned corporate tax avoidance and the rich and powerful using tax havens to hide their wealth – and have taken action at Westminster to end this culture.

“We now need to see the introduction of urgent legislation to help close tax havens and increase transparency so that the very rich pay their fair share of tax in their respective countries and enable governments worldwide to invest more in jobs and growth.

“Last year I hosted the ‘Make Tax Fairer’ campaign at Westminster and have chaired numerous meetings between MPs, Lords and NGO’s (including Oxfam and Christian Aid) in support of a new Tax Dodging Bill.

“Importantly, such a Bill would help raise billions of pounds in the UK and in developing countries which could help improve vital services like health, education and roads.

“Big multinationals and wealthy individuals are not only getting away with evading tax here but also from the exchequers of developing countries. Indeed, if these countries got their due tax they may not need as much in foreign aid.

“I will therefore continue to campaign to make it harder for big companies and individuals to dodge taxes here and ensure that UK tax rules don’t encourage tax avoidance in developing countries.   

“We need to see tighter systems put in place to make it harder for corrupt practices to flourish – not least in terms of tax avoidance.”

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