Ahead of a crucial EU Summit in Brussels, the European Parliament has backed a common European strategy to combat tax fraud, tax evasion and tax havens.
The move today (Tues 21st) comes as pressure mounts for action on multinational companies from Google and Starbucks to Apple who are paying only tiny amounts in tax.
West Midlands MEP and Lib Dem Employment Spokesman Phil Bennion said:
“A culture of corporate tax avoidance by large multinational companies has become the norm.
"In an era of austerity when small business and ordinary people are fighting to stay afloat, this unfair feather-bedding must end. The only way to deal with it is for the EU and EU governments to change the law.
“Lib Dem MEPs are fighting for companies to pay their fair share in tax. We need more transparency in how companies prepare their accounts and much more effort behind European and international co-operation to ensure tax loopholes are closed.
"Just trying to shame companies into paying a bit more tax for PR reasons is not good enough. Public opinion demands action and European governments must deliver it.
“The European Parliament vote today sends a strong signal to Finance Ministers, ahead of the EU Summit tomorrow, that the time has come to clamp down on tax evasion and tax havens once and for all.
"Europe needs a common strategy on dealing with tax avoidance. Individual governments working alone cannot make much difference.
“Hopefully, Mr Osborne will recognise that the EU can help the UK tackle this problem that costs our Inland Revenue an estimated £4 billion a year.”