• Local and International

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    08 June 2018

    Last week as well as being busy in the constituency (including hosting a dinner for over a hundred to listen to former Education Secretary Justine Greening MP promoting the importance of social mobility – one of the main reasons I came into politics), I had the honour of representing the UK at the annual Ministers meeting at the OECD in Paris. The OECD stands for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and was set up initially to oversee the funding provided by the United States to post-war Europe under the so-called Marshall Plan. Today its 37 countries work together on a large range of economic projects with a commitment to free trade and inclusive development. Global trade has done more to bring hundreds of millions of people from right around the world out of poverty than perhaps any other single factor in the history of mankind. The area that I spoke about was in the field of international taxation. Working with the OECD the UK has been at the forefront of helping to clamp down on international tax avoidance, evasion and non-compliance. This has typically been achieved through multilateral agreement between OECD countries and others on how the international tax regime can best prevent profit shifting by large multinational corporations from high to low tax jurisdictions. For example, a company selling goods in the UK might avoid UK corporation tax on its activities through attributing an unfair level of costs against its UK operations so reducing the taxable profit due to our exchequer whilst at the same time reducing its costs in another lower tax jurisdiction meaning that profits are effectively transferred from a higher to a lower tax regime with less tax paid overall. The legislation that I have taken through parliament to date bring these international agreements into UK law – they are complex, often very dry and yet vitally important if large multinational companies are going to pay their share of tax to support our vital public services. In Paris I was there to specifically discuss the taxation of businesses who generate large profits through digital platforms and yet pay relatively little tax in the UK.  These are typically search engines, online market places and social media platforms. Here we are not looking at clamping down on tax avoidance but rather seeking a new approach within the international rules-based order to fairly tax these companies – businesses that generate value through the relationship they build with the users of their services yet that have a limited economic footprint (offices, staff etc) in the UK. All once again very dry stuff but important to us all if we are to make sure these large businesses pay their way. At the OECD this week I played my part in pushing forward with that important agenda. To me tax is not dry and dull it is about more nurses, doctors, educating our children and much more. More from Mel on Twitter @MelJStride and at