SNP MEPs Ian Hudghton and Alyn Smith today have welcomed the decision by the European Commission, in the wake of the Panama Papers, to force multinational corporations to open up about their profits earned and taxes paid in EU Member States.
The European Commission is to put forward legislation requiring multi-national firms with more than €750 million in sales to detail how much tax they pay in which EU country, as well as any activities carried out in specific tax havens – including non-EU countries. This proposal will therefore include the British Virgin Islands, Guernsey, Hong Kong and Panama.
Pierre Moscovici, the European Commissioner in charge of tax policy, insisted that no government can now waver on these measures: "After the Panama Papers, there must not be a single hesitation from anybody, that we need country-by-country reporting" he said.
"We call on the UK Government to promptly abide by the new measures anticipated to be published by the European Commission later this afternoon, if a qualified majority of EU finance minister and the European Parliament agree to the proposals.
"The fact that the UK Government does not have a detailed blacklist of tax havens and has recently commented on the move by the Commission as "deeply unhelpful" is neither what the public expect nor deserve."
"This saga has severely undermined the position of David Cameron and the UK Government more widely, and the only way to now rebuild any credibility is by complete, and overdue, transparency. The current distraction about individual politicians and their tax returns is just a sideshow from a long running, major and systemic problem which the EU has been trying to tackle for years, efforts the UK has persistently undermined.
"It is high time that the UK Government stops deliberately dragging its feet in order to slow down measures being proposed by the European Commission and instead lends its support in order to rebuild public trust as quickly as possible. Let's see George Osborne live up to his words that those deliberately evading tax should be treated the same as common thieves."
NOTE - As reported in the Sunday Herald: "Tax evasion is not just illegal it's immoral. People evading tax should be treated same as common thieves. This agreement helps us tackle them." - George Osborne, Oct 2014