Thursday, 7 March 2013

Scottish Ministers told time is right to act against tax dodging companies

UNISON Scotland will today (Thursday) urge the Scottish Government to respond to overwhelming public outrage about tax dodging companies.

The public services union wants Ministers to use their forthcoming Procurement Reform Bill to ban firms involved in tax dodging from winning public contracts.

Dave Watson, Head of Bargaining and Campaigns, will tell a Holyrood conference on Sustainable Procurement that the time is right to legislate and that there is considerable cross party support for the principle.

Also, a recent Christian Aid public opinion survey found that 80% are angry about firms not paying their fair share of tax and a third are boycotting companies over it.

Dave said: “There is enormous public anger over companies that don’t pay their fair share of tax. The timing of this Bill is perfect for the Scottish Government to respond.

“We are suggesting that the Bill should send out a very clear message. As Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has said, ‘Taxpayers’ money should not be funding tax dodgers.’”

The Edinburgh conference, organised by Holyrood Magazine, is to hear about a range of ways in which procurement can be used as a lever for social, economic and environmental benefits, including to support the Living Wage, to support local economies and sustainable development and to contribute to climate change emissions reduction targets.

Dave Watson is speaking at the event, on promoting best practice, including the Scottish Living Wage.

He said: “At a time of massive public spending cuts it is outrageous that some £120 billion of tax is not being collected. The UK Government should be doing more with stronger anti-tax-avoidance legislation, more tax staff and greater transparency in company accounts.

“The Scottish Government can encourage companies to change their ways through procurement.”