Oxfam Scotland calls for political action to ensure Scotland isn’t helping tax dodgers
Oxfam Scotland launches a new campaign today to encourage senior politicians in Scotland to back the principles of fairness and transparency in tax practices.
The move follows recent coverage in The Herald and elsewhere suggesting that a Scottish legal mechanism is being misused by tax dodgers. Earlier this month, the anti-poverty organisation expressed concern about the claims.
Powers to tighten the law are reserved to Westminster. Oxfam is now urging key political leaders in Scotland to publicly unite in supporting action to close any loopholes in the law.
To this end, Oxfam is asking people across Scotland to write to the Secretary of State for Scotland and the leaders of the five parties represented at the Scottish Parliament.
Head of Oxfam Scotland Jamie Livingstone said: “Oxfam cares about tax dodging because we know it is the poorest people – in Scotland and globally – who lose out when governments are denied vital revenue.
“Scottish Limited Partnerships (SLPs) are a complex way of structuring a business. Not all of them are being used for illegitimate purposes. However, they have rapidly grown in number and we are concerned by media reports suggesting they are being explicitly promoted overseas as ‘Scottish zero per cent tax companies’. We are particularly alarmed that it can be hard to know who really owns SLPs.
“Scotland should have no desire to be linked, in any way, to the practice of tax avoidance and, to date, there has been strong cross-party support for this position.
“Power to close any loophole rests at Westminster, but we believe a united stance from Scotland’s political leaders will encourage urgent action by the UK Government.
“We are therefore asking political party leaders at the Scottish Parliament and the Secretary of State for Scotland to unite in support of efforts to immediately close tax and other loopholes which could allow ‘Scottish Limited Partnerships’ to be abused. By doing so, we can protect Scotland’s reputation for legal and financial professionalism, fairness and transparency.”
Oxfam Scotland’s campaign asks politicians to add their name in support of the following statement:
“I agree that tax avoidance, wherever it happens, is wrong. It denies Governments – at Scottish and UK levels, as well as within developing countries – vital revenue which could be used to tackle poverty and fund schools and hospitals. I will work with other parties to ensure Scotland isn’t unintentionally helping tax dodgers and that we prevent any perception that this is the case. I will support efforts to immediately close tax and other loopholes which allow ‘Scottish Limited Partnerships’ to be abused in order to protect
Scotland’s reputation for professionalism, fairness and transparency.”