‘Vicious cycle’ of tax avoidance must be combated

Liberal Democrat Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani has written to Oldham Council’s head of finance to push for more action on ensuring that tax avoiding companies are kept away from Council contracts.

In 2019, the Council’s passed the Liberal Democrat motion supporting the Council’s for Fair Tax declaration. During Fair Tax Week, Councillor Al-Hamdani returned to the motion to question how much the Council had done to encourage businesses – particularly those closely linked to the Council to sign up to the Fair Tax Mark.

Sam said: “The Council reported two years ago that it was going to speak to its arms length companies about signing up for the Fair Tax Mark, but we have heard nothing since. It also agreed to promote fair tax – ensuring companies pay the right amount, in the right place, at the right time.

Willie Rennie MSP, with local councillor Sam Al-Hamdani
Sam Al-Hamdani meeting with Lib Dem MSP Willie Rennie to discuss the Fair Tax Mark

“Too many companies take advantage of the fact that UK law doesn’t allow tax conduct to be taken into account when managing contracts. Profits are shifted overseas, to low-tax countries, meaning more profits for shareholders, and less infrastructure for the places where the work is taking place. That’s simply not good enough.”

For Fair Tax Week, Councillor Al-Hamdani is speaking at a Fair Tax Mark-organised event on how Councils can promote fairer taxation, and how they can support local businesses who are interested in getting accredited.

He continued: “At the end of the day we need a fair playing field for both individual businesses, and for the places where they work.

“Small, local businesses typically don’t work in such a way that they can use tax loopholes, so they get priced out of the market by those that do.

“That means less business being kept local, and less money for local services. It’s a vicious circle, and it must end.”

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