Midlothian councillors call for crackdown on tax dodgers

Monday August 22nd 2022

Midlothian Council Fairfield House Main

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

Midlothian councillors are being asked to lead the way in the fight against tax dodgers amid claims two-thirds of the Scottish public want company ethics to be considered in public contracts.

A motion going before elected members on Tuesday will urge the local authority to approve a Councils for Fair Tax declaration.

It will mean the council agrees to lead by example and ensure contractors pay their fair share of employment taxes where possible, refuse to use offshore vehicles for the purchase of land or property and seek clarity on the ownership of suppliers among other things.

The motion by Councillor Bryan Pottinger, supported by Councillor Russell Imrie says public expectation on organisations to pay the right amount of tax in the right place at the right time has never been stronger.

It says: “Almost two-thirds of the Scottish public agree that the Government and local councils should consider a company’s ethics and how they pay their tax as well as value for money and quality of service provided, when undertaking procurement.

“Around 15% of public contracts in Scotland have been won by companies with links to tax havens.

“As recipients of significant public funding, local authorities should take the lead in the promotion of exemplary tax conduct by ensuring contractors are paying their proper share of tax, or refusing to go along with offshore tax dodging when buying land and property.”

The motion also calls for more to be done to challenge current legislation which “restricts councils’ ability to either penalise poor tax conduct or reward good tax conduct, when buying goods and services.”

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