What Britain wants for the G8 summit

Press quote (Channel 4 News)
16 June 2013

Simon Tilford, of the CER, believes the best way to combat avoidance and evasion is to introduce harmonised tax rates and tax bases (what is liable for tax), but is under no illusions that this will happen. "There is a lot of rhetoric and newfound readiness in the UK, France and Germany to speak as one on this, but they've never really been prepared to work together to do anything about it," he told Channel 4 News.

 "This is going to be a long, drawn-out affair. It's not something that can be addressed quickly. Within the EU there is pressure that can be brought to bear, but David Cameron opposes harmonisation of corporation tax. "It's hard to see where governments in the EU can go on the issue of tax without harmonisation. It's positive that they see it as a priority, but in terms of actually doing something about it, that is going to be much harder." 

The low (12.5 per cent) rate of corporation tax in Ireland has helped attract US technology companies, including Google and Apple. While Mr Tilford is confident loopholes in Irish tax laws can be dealt with, he does not expect changes to corporation tax. "I don't think they (the Irish) want to be marked out as a tax haven. But I'm sceptical we will see any movement on tax rates or tax bases," he said. 

And the British government has a job on its hands convincing others to take action. "Britain has its own network of tax havens and that means his argument about tax strategy is somewhat hollow."