UK union attackstax havens

| 30/12/2008

(CNS): One of Britain’s biggest unions has added its voice to the call to close down tax havens and give Britain back what is perceived as a loss of some GBP33billion a year. UNITE the body which represents public servants in the UK is calling on Gordon Brown to make his new year’s resolution a commitment to close down the routes to offshore financial service centres.

The union said it is the British tax payer that picks up the tab for bailing out the banks and looks forward to a bleak 2009, Derek Simpson, joint leader of Unite, is calling on the government to make sure the culprits of the credit crunch, who have consistently avoided paying their fair share of tax, give that money back.

"A commitment to make 2009 the year Labour gets tough on the tax havens would be met with delight by hardworking families,” said Simpson. “For years super-rich individuals and corporations have undermined the UK’s tax revenues and without decisive intervention from the government those same people would have destroyed our economy. Thanks to them our jobs and homes are at risk. The taxes these corporations and super rich individuals avoid could go along way to boosting the UK economy during these tough times. The government must close the loopholes that allow the super-rich avoid paying their fair share of tax. It is also time for the banks to close down their private banking advice sections designed to exploit tax loopholes."

According to Tax Research UK the value of tax avoidance by Britain’s top companies is worth some GBP25 billion a year. This figure does not include tax avoided by rich individuals earning over GBP200,000 a year. That organisation says that conservative estimates suggest that this is as much as GBP8 billion but does not include all the money these individuals hold offshore, which is impossible to quantify.

Clawing back this money would have funded the GBP20bn fiscal stimulus package contained within the pre-budget report with billions left over, Unite has said. The union is calling for a repatriation of the profits banks place offshore and have them subjected to UK tax; to close down structured finance operations and to end private banking advice sections designed to exploit tax loopholes.

Unite is demanding that the UK government close the loopholes that allow super-rich individuals and corporations avoid paying their fair share of tax. Working people are bailing out the banks and funding massive tax concessions for the super rich and Britain’s top companies.

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