By Amelia Connor-Afflick, Restless Development returned volunteer Nepal
On the 9th May, 2 days following the general election, we as ‘Tax Dodging Bill’ campaigners marched up to 10 Downing Street to make sure that returning Prime-Minister David Cameron and his government did not forget about their promises on tackling tax dodging.
The Conservatives have promised to raise £5 billion a year by clamping down on tax evasion, and aggressive tax avoidance and tax planning, which they seek to achieve with efforts outlined in their manifesto as continuing to “lead international efforts to ensure global companies pay their fair share in tax” and “consider the case for making international country-by-country tax reporting information publicly available on a multilateral basis”.
As campaigners we held our placards, our wheelbarrow full of chocolate coins – which represented the £3 billion we could raise through a Tax Dodging Bill, chanted “make tax fair” and spoke to several media sources, including BBC Radio, about why it is necessary for a bill to be introduced that prevents tax avoidance.
The Tax Dodging Bill campaign and large numbers of the public (80%) are sceptical on whether the government’s pledges are sufficient to raise the £5 billion, as promised. New legislation is needed in order for the Conservative’s promises to be met and so that the public can be reassured that those who avoid paying tax will face tough consequences. The new legislation needs to place tougher sanctions on those who avoid tax, create more transparency and also stop companies from exploiting underdeveloped countries with tax avoidance.
These goals could be achieved by closing the loophole in the Diverted Profit Tax, ensuring that UK tax rules consider the impact that they have on developing countries, making country-by-country reporting for all sectors, not just the financial sector and also committing to rigorous reviews on all tax breaks and scrap any that do not benefit society or the economy. This Bill needs to be drafted for the 2015 Queen’s speech, as this is the Conservative’s first opportunity to deliver their first manifesto and proposals on new legislation.
We campaigned outside Downing Street immediately following the new government being elected because we wanted to show how much the public is concerned about tax dodging. Our goal on the 9th May was to get our voices heard with media coverage, which we achieved and we will be following up on the campaign on the 9th June with the Restless Welcome in Parliament to put pressure on MPs to introduce a Tax Dodging Bill.
Add your voice! Send a letter to David Cameron here.
 Institute of Directors, May 2015. http://www.iod.com/influencing/press-office/press-releases/government-must-act-on-infrastructure-the-deficit-and-tax-avoidance