Tuesday, 4 December 2012

No public cash for tax cheats

Tax dodging companies should not be allowed to bid for public contracts. That's one of the proposals UNISON Scotland has made for new procurement legislation. The Scottish Government's forth-coming Procurement Reform Bill is an opportunity to tackle tax dodging in innovative ways. It can also be used to extend the Living Wage to contractors, to strengthen labour rights and to contribute to climate change targets.
UNISON has pointed to examples in a number of European cities to show that it is possible to act against companies that use tax havens and other forms of tax dodging.

Scottish Organiser Dave Watson said: “It is entirely wrong that companies seeking to avoid paying their fair share of tax should be awarded public contracts.
“Public bodies in Scotland spend nearly £11 billion annually through procurement. This Bill offers ways to use that spending to deliver local social, economic and environmental benefits.
“We think this is an important opportunity to do what some European cities such as Helsinki and Paris are already doing, in acting against companies using tax havens.
“The Scottish Government should adopt a tax justice approach, finding ways, with appropriate legal advice, to bar companies involved in tax dodging from being eligible to bid.”

Recently public outrage has focused on companies like Google, Amazon and Starbucks paying miniscule amounts of tax. Many companies investing in PPP/PFI projects are registered in tax havens.
UNISON believes that community benefit clauses could be used to argue that the community will benefit from companies paying proper levels of taxes.

UNISONs response to the consultation said the Bill should promote workforce protections such as the two tier workforce provisions and compliance with the Equality Act and Freedom of Information rights must follow the public pound.