Sunak rejects church leaders’ call to bar tax-haven firms from bailouts

Apr 28, 2020 by

by Rupert Neate, Guardian:

Letter signed by ex-archbishop said some large corporations ‘continue to avoid responsibility’.

The government has dismissed a proposal from church leaders for companies that avoid paying UK taxes by routing “huge profits” through tax havens to be barred from taxpayer-funded coronavirus bailouts and support packages.

Senior members of the clergy including the former archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said that while vulnerable people were “paying the price” of an underfunded and unprepared NHS, “some large corporations continue to avoid responsibility, making huge profits yet hiding their wealth in tax havens”.

They urged the UK government to follow the lead of Denmark, Poland and France in refusing to provide state support to companies registered in tax havens.

Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, was challenged in the House of Commons on Monday by the Labour MP Peter Kyle about what the government planned to do about companies that had “so aggressively avoided paying tax in this country”.

“Many of those same companies are now relying on the largesse and generosity of taxpayers in order to remain solvent in these difficult times,” said Kyle, who sits on the business, energy and industrial strategy committee. “As the chancellor starts to plan for the recovery economy, will he take this opportunity to have conversations with those companies to make sure that when we do recover they play a much fuller part in our economy going forward? Let’s aim for not business as normal when we get back from this crisis, let’s aim for business as better.”

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