McDonnell: Labour will end the era of government turning a blind eye to tax avoidance

John McDonnell says Labour would end the era of government turning a blind eye to the scandal of tax avoidance if they were in government.

In a statement following the leak of financial documents the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer says the Tories have “refused to act” to stem the flow of taxable money moving offshore.

The so-called Paradise Papers have implicated several high-profile people, including royalty, revealing the secrets of the world elite’s hidden wealth.

The 13.4m files expose the global environments in which tax abuses can thrive – and the complex and seemingly artificial ways the wealthiest corporations can legally protect their wealth.

In a statement, McDonnell said: “Despite the Government’s claims of cracking down on tax dodgers, the Paradise Papers confirm that tax avoidance is clearly continuing on an industrial scale.

“The Prime Minister or the Chancellor need to explain how this scandal has been allowed to go on for so long and what action is to be taken now.

“Every pound avoided in tax by the super rich is a pound needed by our NHS and our schools. Where the Tories refuse to act, Labour will end the era of government turning a blind eye to the scandal of tax avoidance.”

The leaks centre around the activities of offshore solicitors Appleby and implicates one of the Conservative Party’s biggest donors Lord Ashcroft, who sheltered his wealth offshore while a Tory peer.

Billionaire Robert Mercer who bankrolled the Trump and Leave.EU Brexit campaign is also revealed to be an Appleby client.

As is Wilbur Ross who funded Trump to stave off his bankruptcy and was rewarded with the position of Commerce Secretary. The leaks link him to Russian interests with which – via Cayman Islands accounts – he shares a shipping company which earns millions of dollars a year transporting oil and gas for a Russian energy firm whose shareholders include Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law and two men subject to US sanctions.

Alex Cobham of Tax Justice Network blamed “major banks, major accounting firms, major multinationals, major law firms operating globally and taking advantage of the failure so far to align national regulation and national taxation to recognise that globalisation has taken us to a different place and created these global problems.” He called for policy makers to come together globally “to eliminate these problems once and for all.”

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