No bailouts for tax haven businesses, Labour MPs tell Chancellor

The government should not offer emergency state support to big businesses that are registered in tax havens, 24 Labour MPs have told the Chancellor in a letter.

A cross-party group of MPs, which also includes Lib Dem, SNP and Plaid Cymru representatives, has urged Rishi Sunak to impose conditions on corporate bailouts.

They are in favour of forcing businesses in receipt of government support to implement a moratorium on dividend payouts and share buybacks, and curb executive pay.

The MPs have said cited measures put in place by Denmark and France, where firms registered in offshore tax havens have been refused coronavirus financial aid.

Below is the full text of the letter to Rishi Sunak.

Dear Chancellor,

The Coronavirus pandemic has forced governments across the world to make economic interventions scarcely imaginable just months ago. Here in the UK, you have repeatedly said that we are “all in this together”.

We write because we are concerned that on the current trajectory, this is far from being true.

Before the virus hit, working people had suffered a decade of cuts to public services and stagnating wages, and more than 14 million people were living in poverty. This crisis risks seriously exacerbating these inequalities.

This is why it is vital that economic measures are introduced to protect everyone’s livelihoods, to ensure that those with the broadest shoulders pay their fair share, and to require that companies in receipt of state bailouts share in the collective effort.

It would be wrong, for example, to bailout tax dodgers like billionaire Richard Branson, or for public money to go to companies that continue to pay millions to executives or shareholders.

We therefore urge you to condition emergency state support for big businesses as follows:

  • They must not be registered in tax havens.
  • They must implement a moratorium on dividend payouts and share buybacks.
  • They must curb excessive executive pay.

Countries such as Denmark and France have implemented measures similar to these. If the government does not also act, we do not believe it can truly say we are “all in this together”.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Apsana Begum
Member of Parliament for Poplar and Limehouse

Bell Ribeiro-Addy
Member of Parliament for Streatham

Zarah Sultana
Member of Parliament for Coventry South

Claudia Webbe
Member of Parliament for Leicester East

Signatories

Diane Abbott
Member of Parliament for Hackney North and Stoke Newington

Tahir Ali
Member of Parliament for Birmingham, Hall Green

Paula Barker
Member of Parliament for Liverpool, Wavertree

Richard Burgon
Member of Parliament for Leeds East

Ian Byrne
Member of Parliament for Liverpool, West Derby

Rosie Cooper
Member of Parliament for West Lancashire

Jeremy Corbyn
Member of Parliament for Islington North

Yvonne Fovargue
Member of Parliament for Makerfield

Barry Gardiner
Member of Parliament for Brent North

Mike Hill
Member of Parliament for Hartlepool

George Howarth
Member of Parliament for Knowsley

Ian Lavery
Member of Parliament for Wansbeck

Clive Lewis
Member of Parliament for Norwich South

John McDonnell
Member of Parliament for Hayes and Harlington

Ian Mearns
Member of Parliament for Gateshead

Grahame Morris
Member of Parliament for Easington

Kate Osborne
Member of Parliament for Jarrow

Graham Stringer
Member of Parliament for Blackley and Broughton

Jon Trickett
Member of Parliament for Hemsworth

Mick Whitley
Member of Parliament for Birkenhead

Christine Jardine
Member of Parliament for Edinburgh West

Layla Moran
Member of Parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon

Wera Hobhouse
Member of Parliament for Bath

Martin Docherty-Hughes
Member of Parliament for West Dunbartonshire

Kenny MacAskill
Member of Parliament for East Lothian

Angus MacNeil
Member of Parliament for Na h-Eileanan an Iar

Stuart McDonald
Member of Parliament for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East

Jonathan Edwards
Member of Parliament for Carmarthen East Dinefwr

Ben Lake
Member of Parliament for Ceredigion

Liz Saville-Roberts
Member of Parliament for Dwyfor Meirionnydd

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