John McDonnell MP
This half-day workshop, hosted by the Labour Party Shadow Treasury team, brought together leading experts on tax avoidance. Participants included individuals who have investigated tax avoidance practice, campaigners, lawyers, policy specialists, and others along with members of the Shadow Treasury Team.
The aim of the workshop was to deepen our analysis of how and where tax avoidance is occurring – and to inform the Labour Party’s policy response to tax avoidance. The workshop provided a forum for open, imaginative, critical discussion of the merits of various policy options which will help the Labour Party to develop a rigorous and robust response to tax avoidance.
The workshop was divided into three parts, with there being inevitable overlap.
First, there was a discussion of domestic legislative and regulatory options, which included consideration of a general anti-avoidance rule (including experiences from other jurisdictions), and the role of trusts.
Second, tax avoidance in an international context was considered, which included discussion of multinational tax, coordination with European and other partners, and tax havens.
Third, attention turned to enforcement and penalties. The focus here was on enablers of avoidance and evasion, the resourcing and structure of HMRC, and the politics of tax avoidance.
As a Government in waiting we need practical ideas that we can begin to implement from day one. This seminar provided those practical ideas for cracking down on tax avoidance, allowed other parts of our policy proposals to be stress-tested, and ensured that relationships were built amongst some of the world’s leading tax avoidance experts. We’re grateful to the speakers and attendees, and we look forward to further work within the Shadow Treasury Team on tax avoidance.