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EU tax meeting a golden opportunity for greater transparency

By Laura Trevelyan | 15 February 2012

On Monday, there is an EU meeting in Brussels to talk about new laws for greater tax transparency. This is a very important opportunity to tackle tax dodging and we need to make sure the UK stands up to corporate lobbying and supports strong EU proposals.

Norman Lamb, MP -- Pic: www.acumenimages.com

Pic: www.acumenimages.com

This (left) is Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk.

He is also a newly-appointed government minister and having only been in post for a couple of weeks, this EU meeting provides him with the chance to show leadership and push for tax justice.

Lamb and his fellow ministers will be discussing laws that would mean greater tax transparency in the oil and mining sector.

These laws would require companies to produce country country-by-country and project-by-project reports on tax payments. They would also apply to all companies registered on an EU stock exchange as well as large unlisted companies.

These changes could have a major impact in ending poverty.

For example, mineral exports from Africa are worth nine-times the aid it receives. By supporting strong EU transparency laws the UK can help poor countries get a fairer slice of the riches under their feet.

We know Norman Lamb has been supportive of tax transparency. As recently as 6 February he told a Parliament committee on this issue: “I will do everything I can to get effective measures.”

It’s a welcome sentiment, but we need to make sure this rhetoric is turned into concrete action when he meets his fellow EU ministers in Brussels on Monday.

This is because some irresponsible oil and mining companies have been lobbying hard against new rules and we are concerned the UK government risks backsliding on its previous position.

This is a first test Norman Lamb and we hope that he resists calls to water down these proposals.

Poor communities around the world pay the highest price for corporate tax dodging. We estimate that developing countries lose $160 billion every year because of tax dodging.

This is 1.5-times the global aid budget and has a huge impact on the poorest communities in the world. This is money that could be spent on schools, hospitals, doctors, and other vital services.

Take action!

Act now!Make sure that Norman Lamb gives the UK's unequivocal backing to strong EU transparency proposals in Brussels next week.

 About the author

Laura Trevelyan

Laura Trevelyan is our climate justice campaign manager

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