This is a letter on the Luxembourg Leaks tax avoidance scandal, which revealled the Luxembourg athorities have been ‘facilitating’ secret tax avoidance deals by corporations on a massive scale. It was signed by the UK’s three MEPs: Molly Scott Cato, Jean Lambert and Keith Taylor and calls for Labour and Conservative MEPs to back a powerful Inquiry into tax evasion in Europe. It was sent to the Independent, Telegraph and Guardian. None chose to publish it.
The LuxLeaks tax avoidance scandal is so serious that Green MEPs believe it warrants a European Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry. Yet the centre-right and centre-left groups that make up the Grand Coalition in the Parliament are blocking such an Inquiry, seeking to protect President Juncker, the very man who presided over colossal corporate tax avoidance when he was Prime Minister of Luxembourg.
Chancellor Osborne has taken a welcome but limited step on tax avoidance by announcing a ‘diverted profits tax’ in the autumn statement. Labour has also pledged to stand up to powerful vested interests and impose penalties on companies avoiding tax.
Conservative and Labour MEPs should therefore want a robust parliamentary interrogation of secret tax deals and tax competition between member states. It appears not, as they have failed to add their signatures to the Green call. At least 188 signatures are needed to force such an Inquiry; we are 40 short and there are 20 Labour and 27 Conservative MEPs. We urge constituents to put pressure on their MEPs to match their rhetoric on cracking down on tax evasion with action.
Jean Lambert MEP (London)
Molly Scott Cato MEP (South West)
Keith Taylor MEP (South East)