Fair taxation is one of the issues most frequently raised by residents on the doorstep and by small business owners whenever I meet with them in my constituency – it even came up last week during a visit to a local primary school!
People on lower incomes have been hit particularly hard by the Tories who have raised VAT and increased taxes for the lowest paid, whilst at the same time cutting taxes for their millionaire supporters. Many small business owners across my constituency are also frustrated that while they pay their taxes, too many big businesses get away without paying their fair share.
And while the consequences of unfair taxes are bad for residents in South London, they are even worse for developing countries, who lose more each year in tax avoidance than they gain in international aid – an astonishing situation. The recent ‘Panama Papers’ leak of thousands of documents from one law firm shone a light on the extent of tax avoidance across the globe – it should not be possible to hide behind the secrecy of tax havens, yet far too many people do – there is one office block in the Cayman Islands which is host to more than 12,000 companies!
Last year I stood on a platform pledging to reverse the Tories’ cut in income tax for those earning more than £150,000 a year, cut income tax for 24 million people with a new 10p starting rate, reduce taxes for small businesses to help them take on new employees and grow and introduce tax breaks for businesses which start to pay the London Living Wage. More recently, I have been asking the Prime Minister in Parliament to ensure that all British Overseas Territories keep public registers of the owners of companies registered there, to ensure more transparency in tax havens.
The UK should be leading the way on fair taxes for both British workers and British companies, cracking down on abuse in British Overseas Territories and pressing for international cooperation to root out abuse abroad. I will continue to press the Tory government on both fronts over the next year, and to campaign for a fairer approach to taxation.