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.
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.
Its findings came as the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, insisted in his interview with the comedian Russell Brand that Labour had to respond to the public outrage at multinationals using complex arrangements to pay less tax.
Labour’s plans for the public finances rely on it being able to find £6.7bn from tougher tax avoidance measures, while the Conservatives would need £4.6bn and the Liberal Democrats £9.7bn to make their budget arithmetic add up. The Institute for Fiscal Studies, described the figures as “aspirational”.
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.
This article was written by Larry Elliott, for theguardian.com on Thursday 30th April 2015 00.01 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010