Politicians must be tougher on tax avoidance

Voters in Britain’s key marginal seats want tougher action to crack down on tax avoidance and have unimpressed by pledges by political parties to raise billions of pounds from rich individuals and corporations, according to a poll published on Thursday.

The ComRes survey found that almost three-fifths of those questioned thought the promises made by the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats did not go far enough, reports The Guardian.

Providing evidence of public disquiet about the activities of multinational firms that have minimised their tax bills, the poll also showed that nine in 10 voters in marginals thought tax avoidance by big corporations was morally wrong even when it was legal.

The poll was commissioned by the Tax Dodging Bill campaign, a coalition of development organisations including ActionAid, Oxfam and Christian Aid, that is calling on the new government to introduce a law to tackle tax avoidance within 100 days of coming to power.

Jenny Ricks, head of campaigns at ActionAid, said: “This poll shows that widespread anger about corporate tax avoidance both in the UK and in poor countries is showing no signs of going away.

“People still don’t believe that the promises made by political parties on tackling tax dodging go far enough. Pressure is mounting on all parties to act. That’s why the next government must introduce a tax-dodging bill – it could bring in billions in the UK and poor countries – money badly needed to fight poverty.”

ComRes interviewed 1,000 voters in 40 battleground seats. A vast majority (84%) thought it was still too easy for large companies to avoid paying tax in the UK, while a similar proportion (81%) said tax dodging by large companies in developing nations harmed people living in those countries.

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