Green MEP Molly Scott Cato is challenging Labour MEPs to support a far reaching Committee of Inquiry into the Lux Leaks tax avoidance scandal. So far, 179 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have signed to support the Green initiative, which is just 9 short of the required number to force such an Inquiry. There are 20 Labour MEPs, so their support would tip the balance.
Molly Scott Cato said:
“It is astonishing that Labour MEPs won’t support our call for a comprehensive inquiry, preferring instead to be part of the “coalition of the unwilling” on this . Labour has pledged to stand up to powerful vested interests and impose penalties on companies avoiding tax. Yet it appears they are not willing to match their rhetoric on cracking down on tax evasion with action.”
Although alternative investigations have been proposed, Greens say their proposal for a Committee of Inquiry is the only way to secure a robust interrogation into secret tax deals and tax competition between member states. At present information is only entering the public domain as a result of the action of whistle-blowers who are threatened with legal action when acting in the public interest. The Green Group in the European Parliament is arguing for all information about tax deals to be made public and argue that the inquiry will increase pressure to achieve this.
“Tax is a fundamental part of creating and living in a civilised society. We must end the practice of ‘tax shopping’, whereby corporations seek out the lowest-tax territory. This constant downward pressure on tax yields undermines effective government and unpicks the public services that all Europe’s citizens depend on”, concluded Dr Scott Cato.
 Gianni Pittella, chair of the Social-Democrats, the group (to which Labour MEPs are a part), sent an email to MEPs in his group urging them not to sign the request for a Committee of Inquiry. But not everybody in his group wanted to follow this advice. For instance, the majority of the French socialists signed the request.
This issue is of high public interest and it puts to test the credibility of the political groups, since some have been criticizing tax evasion very loudly, but then appeared reluctant to expose the president of the Commission in this matter. Full article