Leader says party would end secrecy over tax rates by reforming laws and forcing multinationals to publish payment figures
A Labour government would stop “scandalous” tax avoidance by multinational companies operating in Britain by ending secrecy over tax rates, Ed Miliband has said. In an attempt to overcome unfairness in the tax system, which many people currently regard with “horror”, Labour would introduce two major changes to bring greater transparency.
Firstly, multinationals would have to publish a single figure for the amount of corporation tax they pay. Companies would be free to structure their business as they see fit but would have to make an open declaration on the tax.
Secondly, tax laws that allow companies to avoid tax on profits made in Britain would be reformed. This is aimed at companies such as Starbucks and Amazon, which have structured their businesses to ensure they pay taxes in countries with lower rates.
The Labour leader told the Andrew Marr Show on BBC1: “We’ve got a situation where many British companies and many individuals are paying their fair share of tax and they look in horror at a system where multinational companies, some multinational companies from other countries, can make huge profits in Britain and not pay taxes in Britain. This is scandalous, it’s got to change. The next Labour government will change it.
“We’ll end the tax secrecy because we can’t have a situation where we don’t know how much tax people are paying against how much profits they’re making, and I’m serving notice that we will take action.
“We will end this situation where people can get away with making big profits in Britain and for no reason at all and with no justification not paying any tax. It’s wrong and frankly it’s an insult to hardworking taxpayers in this country.”
Miliband was less forthcoming on whether he would reverse the government’s decision to withdraw child benefit from higher rate taxpayers. Asked whether he would restore this, he said: “Well I’m not going to say that now, no.”