Stephen McPartland is Member of Parliament for Stevenage and has written to the Chief Executives of all the FTSE 100 companies to ask them individually if they are willing to pledge their support for corporate tax transparency and if they will support a new international accountancy standard for country-by-country reporting. The responses are being published at www.taxchallenge.co.uk so that the general public know which FTSE 100 companies are willing to sign up to tax transparency and which are not. Follow Stephen on Twitter.
I took up the initiative after meeting Christian Aid supporters when the Tax Justice Bus visited Stevenage. The tax justice campaigners believe that tax dodging by international companies costs the UK around £35 billion and developing countries an estimated $160billion per year. Just imagine the dramatic difference such a huge sum of money would make if it was available to invest in public services, infrastructure and other vital services essential for economic growth.
I know that Governments from all around the world will agree with the sentiment of greater tax transparency, but they will struggle to introduce it as every nation competes in the global race. Despite the best of intentions, I believe that in the end it will be up to the companies themselves to lead the way and they will only do that if their customers-the British public-drag them kicking and screaming towards tax transparency and a fairer tax system for us all.