STOP ROBBING US (support early day motion 665) / by Nick Ierodiaconou

Support early day motion 665 "...notes with concern the National Audit Office's finding that in 2006 more than 60 per cent. of Britain's 700 biggest companies paid less than £10 million corporation tax and 30 per cent. paid nothing; regards companies in the FTSE 100 and others indulging in this highly addictive practice as guilty of corporate malfeasance; seriously regrets that families and small to medium-sized businesses continue to plug this gap through disproportionately higher taxes..."  [Guardian]

There has been increasing media coverage of tax avoidance practices by large corporations that highlights the disproportionate contributions of some of the largest (and profitable) companies that operate in the UK  - taking advantage of the infrastructures, ability to attract talent to the alllure of living in London, but who are siphoning profit via complex restructuring techniques to tax havens (Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Jersey to name a few).

One example in today's Guardian is Walkers. In short, since 1998, Walkers (owned by US corporate Pepsico) has "restructured" Walkers so that a majority of its profits never come to the UK, therfore avoiding the tax man. This has resulted in a shortfall in contributions of almost £20m each year. Think about it - if Walkers are paying £20m less - the government has less money to spend.

The tax authorities in many countries have struggled to keep apace with these manipulations of the system. It is argued that all these companies are operating lawfully - but how is it right that most small - average scale UK businesses pay 20% corporation tax with money made in the UK being ploughed back into that same infrastructure it relies on, whereas some large corporations are able to put the same (or more) pressure on that system but avoid contributing towards its upkeep?

So perhaps the answer is to vote with your wallet. Do we want to see our money being siphoned off to these tax havens? Its time to stop buying products made by companies that are not paying their fair share. Its time to be responsible about how we spend and how we buy.

AF