At Prime Minister’s Questions today Jeremy Corbyn accused Conservative MEPs in the European Parliament of voting against measures to stop tax avoidance.
The vote in question was the European Parliament’s annual tax report which included plans to make companies report where they make their profits and pay taxes.
It took place on 25 March this year; across Europe it was backed by 444 MEPs to just 110 who voted against.
From Britain, Conservative, Ukip, and DUP MEPs voted against the report, though many did not show up or not vote.
David Cameron says the UK backed the plans at the Council level despite the way his MEPs voted on the tax report.
The part of the resolution text relating to tax dodging read:
“[This Parliament] Calls on the Commission to propose, and on MSs to agree on, a common EU position and a broadened set of detailed criteria for the definition of tax havens and coordinated penalties to be imposed on uncooperative jurisdictions; calls for a blacklist to be drawn up of such tax havens and countries distorting competition with favourable tax conditions, including those in the EU, by 31 June 2015;
“…Asks the Commission to offer cooperation and assistance to developing third countries which are not tax havens, to help them effectively tackle tax fraud and tax avoidance;
“…Calls on the MSs to equip their competent authorities to carry out rigorous and through investigations, and put forward sanctions such as suspending or revoking the banking or advisory licences of financial institutions, accountants, law firms or other financial advisors if it has been proven that they have assisted in tax fraud;
“…Calls for the introduction of strong sanctions to prevent companies breaching or dodging tax standards, by refraining from granting EU funding and access to state aid or to public procurement to fraudulent companies or companies located in tax havens or countries distorting competition with favourable tax conditions; urges MSs to recover all types of public support given to companies if they are involved in breaching EU tax standards;”
Here are the British MEPs who voted against the report:
Geoffrey Van Orden
(Note: all Conservatives MEPs not listed either did not vote or were absent)
William Earl of Dartmouth
(Note: all UKIP MEPs not listed either did not vote or were absent)
Labour, Liberal Democrat, SNP, Plaid, and Green MEPs present all voted in favour of the plan, though some did not attend or vote.
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