Over the past few days I have received a number of requests to table a motion to the next meeting of the City Council about how money would be available to councils if we clamped down on tax dodging by multi-national companies.
I have slightly amended the draft sent to me and have now sent in this motion to council. I have asked for all party support for this as it is seems to me to be uncontentious in a council with no Tories in it.
Multi-national Companies and Fair taxation
Council notes that while many ordinary people face falling household income and rising costs of living, some multinational companies are avoiding billions of pounds of tax from a tax system that fails to make them pay their fair share.
It believes that local government in developing countries and the UK alike would benefit from a fairer tax system where multinational companies pay their fair share, enabling authorities around the world to provide quality public services. It believes that the Government must listen to the strength of public feeling and act to end the injustice of tax dodging by large multinational companies, in developing countries and the UK.
It recognises that a fairer taxation system which taxes multi-national companies fairly would bring in a large increase in revenue from central government to Liverpool. Accordingly it requests the Chief Executive to write to the Party Leaders in Westminster with a view to trying to achieve an all-party agreement to end or minimise this odious practice.
Cllr Richard Kemp CBE
Ironically I will not be at the next Council meeting. I will be in meeting with local government colleagues from all over the World at the United Nations in New York. There we will be looking at what replaces the Millennium Goals which expire in 2015. These, as you are probably aware, were a set of target which the UN has set itself and central and local governments throughout the World to reduce poverty in all its senses.
We are looking at a series of SDGs, Strategic Development Goals for the next decade and working with the UN to look at which of those targets should be adopted by regional and local government and how we should set about implementing them.
Last time I discussed these matters with international colleagues was actually in the Liverpool Town Hall chamber when the World LGA, UCLG, visited the City for our Executive Bureau in June. I made the point then which I will be repeating in New York that we have to make these goals relevant to all levels of Government in all countries. In our host Country the USA there are terrible problems of poverty. Some of the richest communities live cheek by jowl with some of the poorest. In parts of the USA and the UK there are whole communities where many function with poor literacy skills and few life chances.
These problems will actually get worse as technology relieves us all of jobs. I brought a few shares recently. Until a few years ago that would have involved at least 7 people doing something. Now it was done in seconds by clicking a button on a computer. The relaxed middle classes used to think it was just working class jobs that were going as automation took over from craftsmanship. Now algorithms are replacing the human brain and computers the human body.
The SDGs will mean nothing if only enshrined in a UN resolution even if that resolution is unanimously adopted as the last ones were after some prevarication. Each Council, each regional government each national government needs to adopt those goals and;
• Work within their own boundaries to reduce inequality and increase opportunity; and
• Work internationally to help poorer countries also achieve those goals.
I am very proud that the UK is the only Country which actually spends 0.7% of its GDP on international aid. This is not just altruistic although altruism is a good thing. I know just how much our aid packages are appreciated and when aid turns to trade then the UK and its companies are in with a good chance of taking advantage of those enhanced trade importunities.
I will keep you informed about what the council does with my motion and watch out for despatches from the Big Apple as I go ‘Over the Pond’ to the States!