Easington MP Grahame Morris has signed an EDM tabled by Claire Hanna MP, recognising the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on businesses and welcoming government support, but stressing that companies who act unethically and consistently seek to avoid paying tax should not automatically benefit.
The coronavirus pandemic has seen businesses of all sizes change the way they operate, with many having to cease operations entirely. The government continues to provide businesses with financial support in the form of business rates relief and the deferral of VAT payments, in order to safeguard jobs and provide financial security.
The EDM welcomes this government support, and recognises that it has been vital for many businesses. It acknowledges that those businesses who pay their fair share of tax should rightfully receive this support, but asserts that those companies who consistently take advantage of loopholes in an unethical manner to avoid paying tax, should not qualify automatically for government support. The EDM calls on the government to ‘attach fair tax and responsible business conditions to any bailouts’ to ensure that businesses that need it will receive it, and encourage others to operate in a responsible and ethical manner.
The Easington MP has also signed a joint letter, co-ordinated by Zarah Sultana MP, which calls on the government to place responsible conditions on government bailouts. In the letter, MPs state that ‘those with the broadest shoulders pay their fair share,’ and assert that ‘it would be wrong, for example, to bailout tax dodgers like billionaire Richard Branson, or for public money to go to companies that continue to pay millions to executives or shareholders.’
The letter proposes that the government follow the example of Denmark and France, and consider the following conditions when assessing the provision of financial support to big businesses:
1. They must not be registered in tax havens
2. They must implement a moratorium on dividend payouts and share buybacks
3. They must curb excessive executive pay
Grahame Morris MP said, “Whilst I welcome the financial support that businesses have already received during these unprecedented times, businesses that operate ethically should not be treated the same as companies that consistently avoid paying their fair share of tax. It is only right that the government attach fair tax and responsible business conditions to bailouts in the coming weeks and months.’
Full text of the EDM (#454):