e-news 15th May 2015

Who’s really standing up for small business?
Molly launched a stinging attack on the main Parties over their business friendly claims this week. She has waited five months to receive a response from the government to a query about the impacts of new EU VAT regulations on micro businesses and accuses the government of belittling an issue of vital importance to the viability of small and micro businesses in the South West. Molly says:
“Many constituents have told me they have been hit hard by these new VAT rules. In the five months it has taken for the government to respond to my concerns, some micro-businesses have become unviable and have ceased trading. The new government is busy painting itself as being on the side of small business while Labour is agonising about whether it is business friendly enough. But delay in responding to these important concerns shows that when Labour and Tories say business they mean corporate transnational business and that in reality they have neglected the small businesses that are the backbone of our communities.”
Molly was the first politician to take up the issue of changes to EU VAT rules and the impact of the changes on micro-businesses. She has lobbied for a small business VAT exemption at EU and national level.
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More about the changes to VAT in Europe here.
New proposals to clamp down on tax avoidance
MEPs have voted for the introduction of country-by-country reporting for corporations, something Greens have fought hard to achieve to help clamp down on tax avoidance. The economics committee, on which Molly sits, was responsible for the legislation. She said:
“MEPs have voted on Green proposals originally put forward by myself in the economics committee, and it is now clear that the European Parliament has taken the lead where the European Commission has failed to act. Ensuring country-by-country reporting obligations for all corporations would strengthen transparency of corporations’ balance sheets and is crucial to tackling corporate tax avoidance and dumping. The onus is now on Commission President Juncker and EU governments to show they are serious about finally clamping down on corporate tax avoidance.”
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Europe and renewables a good combination for Cornwall
Molly has welcomed news that The European Commission is to grant €17m to fund a wave power project in Cornwall. The five year project will research and develop a wave energy converter at Wave Hub, the wave power-focussed test centre. Molly says:
“This is a great example of how the EU can help unlock the huge potential of the region. The South West has innovation, skills and renewable energy resources in abundance. The funding from the Commission is a major achievement for Wave Hub, a pioneering test centre which I have been fortunate enough to visit. It will help the region make great strides forward in developing wave power technology.”
A recent report from Molly identified that the South West is capable of producing more than 100% of its energy needs from renewables alone, without the need for nuclear or fossil fuels. The study reveals that Cornwall is the part of the South West with the greatest potential of all, where renewable energy could generate up to 161% of energy needs given political backing and the right investment.
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Don’t let EU dilute vital nature laws
Greens in Europe are supporting around 100 voluntary organisations across the UK in their call for the protection of Europe’s natural environment. There are fears that a review being carried out by the EU will dilute EU Birds and Habitats Directives (the Nature Directives) which protect wildlife species and habitats in the UK and Europe. The directives safeguard more than 1,400 rare or threatened species of animals and plants in Europe. Dartmooor is one such area protected by the directives. The Environmental Investigation Agency has a useful page which will enable you to tell the Commission how important nature protection and its laws are to EU citizens.
Migration moves
Greens in the European Parliament have welcomed a proposal for binding quotas for the distribution of asylum seekers. However, there are fears that proposals to combat people smugglers by means of UN-backed military operations will mean that desperate people seek out even more dangerous routes into the EU. Greens want to see a greater emphasis on combating the underlying reasons why refugees flee their country of origin.