With tax avoidance by multinational corporations high on the public agenda, Ethical Consumer magazine is today calling for people to contact their MPs to support a new proposal on the issue.
An Early Day Motion that is currently before the House Of Commons and which has already been signed by nearly 40 MPs condemns the use of tax havens by private companies that are increasingly running our public services.
Research published earlier this year by Ethical Consumer revealed that 13 of the 20 biggest private companies now being awarded public service contracts by the government have subsidiaries in tax havens.
The report reveals that companies including Capita, KPMG and Serco have subsidiaries in places usually used to minimise tax bills. Ironically this June Capita was awarded a £100 million contract by the DVLA to crackdown on vehicle tax and insurance evasion.
The Early Day Motion says:
‘This House congratulates Ethical Consumer for its work exposing the poor ethical record of the companies being awarded contracts to run our public services; is deeply concerned that 13 of the 20 companies surveyed avoid tax through the use of tax havens.’
The groundbreaking report surveyed 20 of the biggest companies now profiting from the privatisation of public services. The results show that some of these companies are amongst the least ethical in the UK with Capita, G4S, Serco and Sodexo among the companies with a bottom rating for a number of ethical and environmental criteria including environmental reporting and supply chain management.
The results of the survey also suggest that the government is now awarding public service contracts to companies without any scrutiny of a company’s ethical or environmental policies. This apparent policy vacuum threatens to undermine the government’s efforts at introducing sustainable procurement policies.