THE BLOG

This Election, It's Time to Take on the Scandal of Tax-Dodging

26/01/2015 17:35 GMT | Updated 28/03/2015 09:59 GMT

Today a coalition of 17 UK organisations including ActionAid, Oxfam, Christian Aid, the NUS and the Equality Trust is launching a campaign to tackle the scandal of corporate tax avoidance in the run-up to the next general.

The reason for this is simple: We all pay our tax. But as we've seen from scandal after scandal in the last few years, companies like Amazon, Google and Starbucks can get away without paying their fair share. Every year the UK loses billions of pounds to corporate tax dodging. Yet this is just the tip of the iceberg; the world's poorer countries lose an estimated $160billion a year from corporate tax dodging, more than all rich countries provide in overseas aid.

And the incredible thing about this is that much of this is legal. Big corporations are taking advantage of an unfair system that allows them to dodge paying their fair share, benefitting themselves at the expense of the rest of society. The UK public has made it clear they've had enough of this unfairness and are clamouring for action.

At the same around the world one billion children live in poverty and 57million children are missing out on a basic primary school education. Recovering the money these countries lose to tax dodging could fund vital services like health and education and the fight against poverty.

The good news is that it doesn't have to be this way. On 7 May, people across the UK will be going to the polls. In the coming months ahead of the election there is a real opportunity to demand farther reaching action from all the parties to tackle corporate tax dodging.

Politicians can change the UK's tax rules to make sure that companies pay their fair share of tax when they do business here. Not only that, the UK's tax rules can also help ensure UK companies pay their fair share of tax wherever else they operate - which includes some of the world's poorest countries.

That's why 100 days from the election, ActionAid is part of a new coalition of campaigning organisations launching a call to all political parties to pledge to introduce a Tax Dodging Bill in the first 100 days after the election.

We need a Tax Dodging Bill to tackle corporate tax dodging, and to make tax fair. The potential benefits are huge. We estimate that the Tax Dodging Bill could generate at least £3.6 billion more a year in tax to fight poverty in the UK, and at the same time curb billions lost to tax dodging in the world's poorer countries...

This is a campaign we can win - but we need people across the UK to take action and show politicians that the British people demand more. The actions and promises we've seen from all political parties are a start, but they don't go far enough to deal with the scandal of corporate tax dodging. In the run up to the election we'll be demanding party leaders and our local candidates pledge to support a Tax Dodging Bill. Together we can make tax fair. Join us.