Coventry MP leads call to stop tax dodgers getting bailouts

Zarah Sultana MP has called on the Government to follow countries like France in stopping tax-dodging companies from getting coronavirus aid.

Zarah Sultana, Labour MP for Coventry South, has led a cross-party group of MPs to call on the Chancellor to stop tax dodging companies from getting public bailouts.

Ms Sultana, with her Labour colleagues Apsana Begum, Bell Ribeiro-Addy and Claudia Webbe, and supported by 30 MPs from various political parties, demanded the Government makes emergency coronavirus bailouts conditional on big businesses “paying their fair share”.

In the letter, the MPs highlight that the Chancellor has claimed that “we’re all in this together”, but raise concerns that unless the Government makes big businesses “share in the collective effort”, this is not true.

They call for emergency state support to be conditional on big businesses (1) not being registered in tax havens, (2) suspending dividend payouts and share buybacks, and (3) curbing excessive executive pay.

The letter highlights how countries such as Denmark and France have implemented measures similar to these.

France has ruled-out coronavirus bailouts for companies registered in tax havens, while Denmark has followed and gone one step further, saying companies that make payouts to shareholders or buy back their own shares are ineligible.

Ms Sultana said: “It’s essential that jobs and livelihoods are protected through this crisis, but it’s absolutely wrong that at the same time as working people are making huge sacrifices, bailouts are open to big businesses that dodge taxes and pay-out millions to executives and shareholders.

“It’s about time the Conservatives stood up to the billionaires and big business and made them pay their share.

“That’s why if they want bailouts, big businesses should do their fair share: Move out of tax havens, suspend dividend payouts and share buybacks, and curb excessive executive pay.”