Protest highlights corporate tax avoidance and cuts to local services
PUBLISHED: 06:32 05 February 2016
Protesters gathered in Sidmouth to call for government action over corporate tax avoidance and cuts to public services on Monday.
County councillor Claire Wright led a demonstration of around 40 to 50 people.
Residents from Sidmouth, Ottery St Mary, Talaton and Budleigh Salterton were among those to voice their concerns about the effect of corporation tax avoidance and proposed council cuts, which MPs are set to vote on later this month, writes Clarissa Place.
Christian Aid’s campaign strategy lead, Helen Collinson, who lives in Ottery, said that the charity had launched a campaign to urge local authorities to adopt central government policies, which would see them ask ‘tougher questions’ about companies’ tax affairs in the UK and abroad.
She said: “It affects people in the UK and it’s affecting people in developing countries.”
Cllr Wright urged Tory MP Hugo Swire to act on the ‘modern scourge’ of tax avoidance by wealthy corporate giants and speak against massive cuts to public spending.
Using figures by tax expert Richard Murphy, she estimated that Devon could receive a further £380million if the corporation tax was collected.
Cllr Wright said: “That’s money that could be spent on our schools, our hospitals, children’s services and the elderly. All these services are horribly underfunded and horribly under pressure.”
Cllr Wright estimated there were ‘around 50’ people at the demonstration.
Police officers from Sidmouth attended the peaceful demonstration. Sergeant Andy Squires said that it was the protesters’ right to demonstrate in a peaceful way.
Councillor Phil Twiss, of the East Devon District Council Conservative Group, said: “The Conservative Party does not condone tax avoidance under any circumstances and fully supports HMRC seeking to address this issue.”
The protest was staged outside Sidmouth Conservative Club, which says it is not affiliated to any political party.
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