Friday, 7 December 2012

Lancaster gets leading tax avoider on Action Aid blacklist


The laboured story of the Lancaster Canal Corridor development site took yet another twist around the block as members of the local Green party noted this week that Lancaster is again being wooed by offshore tax avoiders, in this case British Land.

Reacting to the news that cabinet members on Lancaster City Council have welcomed the acquisition of the Mitchell's site on the canal corridor by British Land, Green councillor Chris Coates said:

"A recent Action Aid report showed that British Land is the organisation with the most subsidiary companies based in Jersey - with 0% Corporation Tax. The Government is urging action to stop tax avoiders such as Starbucks, but the City Council is actively supporting a massive tax avoider in British Land. I think this sends out an appalling message to tax payers in the district."

In response to a recent question regarding tax avoidance measures, Cllr Janice Hanson, Lancaster City Council's Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration and Planning, said that 'offshore companies regularly featured in many major developments and projects across the country and were therefore not an issue of general concern.' Read the full Q&A here

However council ratepayers receiving final demands should maybe not read this as a message that the more widespread tax avoidance is, the more acceptable it becomes. The current grave problems in the Greek economy have been directly attributed to widespread tax avoidance practices and 'creative' accountancy, to which, in hindsight, government institutions were assessed to have been overly sympathetic.

The Action Aid report can be found at http://www.actionaid.org.uk/doc_lib/addicted_to_tax_havens.pdf.

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