Tax industry needs ‘Hippocratic oath’, British politician John McDonnell tells Davos audience

Tax industry needs ‘Hippocratic oath’, British politician John McDonnell tells Davos audience
The UK's shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell wants to see more down to tackle tax avoidance. (Reuters)
Updated 27 January 2018

Tax industry needs ‘Hippocratic oath’, British politician John McDonnell tells Davos audience

Tax industry needs ‘Hippocratic oath’, British politician John McDonnell tells Davos audience

LONDON: The final day of the World Economic Forum heard how the auditing industry needed a “Hippocratic oath” to clamp down on tax avoidance.
John McDonnell, UK Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, delivered the message as some of the leaders of the world’s biggest companies awaited a special address by US President Donald Trump on the final day of the gathering.
“We need to reject ‘tax avoidance’ as a concept,” said McDonnell. “The tax accounting and auditing firms need a Hippocratic oath, where they sign up to being committed to tackling tax avoidance rather than coming up with all these bizarre schemes and then laundering money into tax havens,” he told the panel audience at WEF.
McDonnell also suggested that “high-earners” should publish their income tax returns.
He added: “I think many people feel the markets have been rigged against them not for them … when people are in recession they focus on survival and work long hours for less pay but when the growth returns and people don’t participate in that growth, that’s when they become really angry.
“When the people have paid their taxes and then they get evidence from the Panama Papers that the super-rich and corporations are avoiding their tax on an industrial scale, that breeds alienation, no wonder no one trusts the system.”
McDonnell suggested that nations would benefit from a “real” living wage and affording workers the opportunity to share in the profits when a company does well. “The people want their voice, they want workers on boards,” he said.
Ghanaian cardinal Peter Turkson, who was speaking on the same panel, said: “Those who use the financial markets must recognize that we are a big human family, we are interconnected and we need to foster an inclusive system which helps lift everybody out of poverty. We need a narrative of dignity where nobody gets left behind.”