Tax avoidance by multinationals: this shameful game must stop

Posted By TEU on Dec 1, 2011 |


In the context of the current financial and economic crisis, education unions have been asked to accept severe cutbacks and austerity measures on the basis that there is no more money available for public services.

In the United Kingdom, technical changes in pension plan design will cut 25 percent from the lifetime value of a pension, some teachers losing more than £50,000 in the value of their pension over a 20-year period. Union research has highlighted that people with the lowest levels of qualifications were most likely to suffer from a cocktail of the Conservative government’s policies. It argues these policies will restrict access to education for both young people and adults, e.g. the axing of education maintenance allowances for teenagers; the tripling of university tuition fees; and, the introduction of fees and loans for working adults who want to retrain.

Education International (EI) and its affiliates in the UK, including the University and College Union (UCU), and the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), are now launching the study: Global Corporate Taxation and Resources for Quality Public Services.

The study, commissioned by the EI Research Institute on behalf of the Council of Global Unions, underlines the shocking extent of tax avoidance by multinational companies, totalling trillions of US dollars annually.

This EI study follows on from a previous study published in March estimating that current total deposits just by non-residents in offshore and secrecy jurisdictions were close to US$10 trillion.

The EI study shows how powerful multinational companies use their global reach to avoid meeting their fair fiscal obligations. They achieve this, first of all, through strategies like exploiting legal loopholes and offshore tax havens. The study highlights the extraordinary statistic that an estimated 60 percent of all global trade is actually routed through tax havens.

EI president, Susan Hopgood, said: “Closing loopholes in international tax legislation will require changing attitudes, and calls for strong political will. The widespread acceptance of tax avoidance as a legitimate goal of large corporations must change. Unless this appalling and unjustified tax evasion is stopped, quality public education and other services will continue to be put at risk by cuts in public spending.”

The EI/Global Unions Study on Global Corporate Taxation was earlier this week in London. Click here to download a copy.

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