NEWS THIS WEEK – from Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North & Stoke Newington April 6 2016
06 Apr 2016Revelations in the Panama Papers are extremely serious
This week’s “Panama Papers” revelations about international tax avoidance have caused shock-waves around the world. As John McDonnell said: “The revelations in the Panama Papers are extremely serious and HMRC should treat this with the utmost priority and urgently launch an investigation… David Cameron has promised on numerous occasions to end tax secrecy and crack down on ‘morally wrong’ offshore schemes but has failed to do so. And on top of this failure on six occasions last year Tory MEPs were instructed by George Osborne to vote down proposals to clamp down on multinationals engaged in tax avoidance.”
In terms of how the issue relates to International Development, I have written a short blog (see here) arguing that “Britain should require that all of its crown dependencies and overseas territories such as the British Virgin and Cayman Islands attend the anti-corruption summit in May to pressure them to make public the names of the individuals and companies who are hiding untaxed or laundered income on their territories. Not doing so would mean the summit is a charade. The government should also launch an investigation into the affects of UK tax treaties on development in poor countries. Ireland and the Netherlands have done this, Britain should do the same.”
We are at a crossroads now and the Tories can’t continue to say one thing in public, but do another in private on tax avoidance.
* You can read my piece 'Panama Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg: Global Tax Avoidance Is Literally Killing the Poor' here and John McDonnell’s article 'This is a crisis rooted deep in Tory attitudes' here
New figures reveal a funding blackhole of more than £1 billion in Tories’ plan for forced academisation
Analysis of new figures published in an answer to a Parliamentary Question this week have revealed that the Tories’ plans to force every school to become an academy could come at a cost of £1.3 billion – yet just £140 million was allocated for these plans in the recent budget, leaving a funding shortfall of more than £1.1 billion.
Lucy Powell MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said: “These new figures show the real cost of this re-organisation and leads me to ask the question, yet again, why? Schools don’t need this and parents, communities, teachers and school leaders don’t want it and now we find that it’s going to cost over £1 billion, money which could be better spent driving up standards.”
Labour’s four point plan to rescue the UK steel industry
Labour announced this week our four point plan to stabilise the steel industry and provide security for steel workers. The Tories are in total disarray and have failed to get to grips with the steel crisis. As steelworkers and the industry can’t afford to wait for them to get their act together, Labour is getting the ball rolling.
Labour’s four point plan is as follows:
1. Stabilise the industry and provide security for steelworkers.
2. Create a level playing field for steel - initiate a review into tackling costs hitting the sector from high business rates and energy costs.
3. Fast-track key infrastructure projects requiring large amounts of steel
4. Engage with the workforce, management and customers to turn around the industry, laying out a strategy for the steel industry in the 21st century.
Sign the petition demanding David Cameron takes action to #SaveourSteel at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/126128
International Development Matters –TTIP
I have written an article for The New Statesman this week on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) from the perspective of international development. You can read the article here