Home » Gordon Brown wades in to Joe Biden tax row – tells Boris to stop ‘wrecking’ US blueprint
Gordon Brown wades in to Joe Biden tax row – tells Boris to stop ‘wrecking’ US blueprint
May 28, 2021
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The US President initially proposed a minimum global rate of 21 percent which is expected to raise more than $500bn for public services worldwide as multinationals are forced to pay higher tax rates. However, the US treasury department has put forward a plan for a “floor” of 15 percent, while calling for discussions to continue to “push that rate higher”.
But Treasury Minister Jessie Norman said the US’ proposals were a good start but needed a compromise.
The proposals have been put to the G7 group of countries but the UK is yet to back the position.
Mr Brown said that the UK had emerged as “the biggest obstacle to a successful negotiation” to the US President’s proposal.
The former UK prime minister also claimed the UK’s position was a “wrecking tactic” which could derail the plan.
G7 ministers from Germany, France, Canada, Italy and Japan are looking to strike an agreement for the proposal ahead of the Carbis Bay summit between June 11th and 13th.
A virtual meeting of G7 finance ministers which will include Rishi Sunak is also taking place on Friday with a face-to-face meeting next week.
Mr Brown said the G7 would give the Prime Minister “an unprecedented opportunity to shepherd in an agreement to end corporate tax abuse.”
Speaking ahead of the Summit, Mr Brown added: “It is time for the UK to take on the role the chair of the G7 should play and ensure an ambitious outcome.
“It must abandon its current public stance, which looks more like a wrecking tactic, designed to protect the tax avoidance practices of British overseas territories, than a genuine attempt by the G7 president to break the impasse.”
Writing in the Independent, Mr Brown continued: “Only an ambitious minimum tax will ensure multinationals pay what they should in the countries like the UK where they actually make their money.
“Rooting out this corporate tax abuse is in line with the British people’s priorities as consistently identified in nationwide polling.
“If the UK continues to block, countries committed to acting as corporate tax havens will simply be left behind as a grand coalition of the willing take forward the Biden proposals.
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“And so, Boris Johnson has a simple choice to make. Will he align the UK with the tax havens and be left behind – or will he use the G7 chair to bring home what would be an unprecedented victory against tax dodging, with all the much-needed revenues that would raise?”
The UK Government has insisted that it wants an international solution to the “tax challenges” posed by the rise of the tech giants and the digital economy.
However, officials argue that reform should focus on making multinationals pay more tax in the countries where they make sales and operate.
Officials are said to believe that Mr Biden’s plan would disproportionately benefit the US, with firms simply paying more tax in California.
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Chancellor Rishi Sunak has previously announced a plan to increase corporation tax from 19 percent to 25 percent for large companies by 2023.
Mr Brown said imposing a 25 percent rate would bring up to $30bn of additional revenue for Britain.
It comes after MPs voted 364 to 261, majority 103, to reject a Labour amendment calling for a review of the impact of a global minimum rate of corporation tax.
It was considered as part of a debate on the Finance Bill, which enacts measures in Mr Sunak’s last Budget.
Shadow treasury minister James Murray argued the UK was “now the only G7 country not to back the US plan”.
He added: “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to grasp international agreement on the global taxation of large multinationals that has evaded our country and others for so long, yet rather than stepping up, our Government is stepping away.”
Meanwhile, SNP economy spokeswoman Alison Thewliss said an “agreement will take place in spite of the UK Government’s hesitancy, less global leadership more like pulling teeth”.