8th June 2016
Conservative MEPs have confirmed their support for European Commission proposals to tackle corporate tax avoidance and condemned Labour for backing the handover of tax powers to Brussels.
Ashley Fox, leader of Conservative MEPs, was responding to Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell's call today for all MEPs to back a report – being voted on by the European Parliament tomorrow - calling for the EU to take control of a raft of taxation issues from Member States.
Mr Fox said: "Mr McDonnell can be assured that Conservative MEPs fully support the measures put forward by the OECD and the European Commission to tackle fraud and aggressive tax planning. This is an issue the UK Government is already leading on in the European Union.
"However, we do not support MEPs' efforts to hijack these proposals to impose a minimum tax rate, a common EU tax base, or a European Tax Inspectorate. The real question that Mr McDonnell must answer is why Labour wants to give tax-setting to Brussels?"
Mr McDonnell made his comments during today's Treasury Questions in the House of Commons.
He asked whether Conservative MEPs would be supporting the Commission's proposals tomorrow, apparently not understanding that the vote will be on the European Parliament's response to those proposals, a response which includes calls for EU-wide tax harmonisation.
Mr Fox added: "As well as wanting to give away the UK's power to set its own tax rates, it appears Mr McDonnell does not understand how the EU works."