Joel Muckett 8 Dec 2017 04:08pm

Corbyn to address mass tax avoidance in UN speech

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn will take aim at mass tax avoidance and “grotesque” inequality in a speech at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, later today

In the speech, Corbyn will list the world elite’s concentration of wealth and power as one of four threats facing humanity, along with climate change, the refugee crisis, and what he describes as the “bomb first, think later” approach to conflict.

He will highlight inequalities caused by a broken global economic system, including tax avoidance resulting in developing countries losing out on $100bn a year.

“This is a global scandal. The most powerful international corporations must not be allowed to continue dictating how and for who our world is run,” Corbyn will say.

The Labour leader will refer to the Paradise Papers, in addition to the Panama Papers, to underscore the scale of tax avoidance.

“As the Paradise and Panama Papers have shown, the super-rich and powerful can’t be trusted to regulate themselves.

“Multinational companies must be required to undertake country-by-country reporting, while countries in the global south need support now to keep hold of the billions being stolen from their people.”

Additionally, Corbyn is expected to reveal plans of a Labour government working with the tax authorities of developing countries – similar to what Norway has done with Zambia – in an attempt to stamp out tax avoidance.

“Corruption isn’t something that happens ‘over there’ – our government has played a central role in enabling the corruption that undermines democracy, and violates human rights. It is a global issue that requires a global response,” Corbyn will say.

“When people are kept in poverty while politicians funnel public funds into tax havens, that is corruption – and a Labour government will act decisively on tax havens.”

Tax avoidance has become the focus of attention in recent times. The Paradise Papers exposed the use of offshore tax havens by some of the world’s biggest businesses, political figures and celebrities.

Last month, politicians criticised the Big Four for facilitating and profiting from tax avoidance highlighted in the leaks.