I am supporting an amendment tabled by fellow Labour MP, Caroline Flint, to the Finance Bill to make sure that large multinational companies make clear where they make their money.
Following the now famous tax deal between HMRC and Google, whereby the Government did a special deal with Google for £130 million in tax, members of the Labour Party have been engaged in scrutinising this deal and seeing how unfair it is.
This was not an easy task for Labour MPs, due to the extreme secrecy and confidentiality that surrounds these settlements.
The only way to tackle tax evasion and avoidance is through transparency, and that is exactly what the new amendment seeks to do. The amendment will require multinational businesses to introduce public country-by-country reporting. By asking multinational businesses to publish headline information about money they make and where they pay taxes – information they already have to provide to HMRC – we can shine a light on these activities.
I will be supporting this amendment during the Bills passage of the Houses of Parliament.
It is unfair that large multinationals are able to make tailor made deals with the Treasury, whilst small and medium businesses in Flintshire cannot. This means that the current tax law is producing one rule for the big powerful companies and another for everyone else. Undermining the ability of smaller businesses to compete with these juggernauts.
After the Google tax affair and the release of the Panama Papers, the tide of opinion is moving towards more openness. We need to reintroduce trust into our tax system and this amendment is a crucial way to do so.
I urge the Government to accept this amendment. If they do not they will be letting down hundreds of small and medium businesses in Flintshire.