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Vince Cable backs plans for international tax transparency

Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, has thrown his weight behind proposals originally put forward by the European Parliament that would see all businesses break down their tax operations on a country by country basis.

The idea behind the new propositions is not only to increase transparency over who is doing what where, but has been couched in terms amenable to the businesses themselves by suggesting that such a format may prevent the likes of Starbucks being so heavily slammed in the press and the public arena when their convoluted international money flows see them pay the lion’s share of tax in one country over another. Hmmmmm. Or none at all.

Cable has taken things a step further by suggesting that further action shouls include the G* group of nations as well as the European Union. He also sees a role for the OECD after Britain and Germany backed a review by the global economic body of international tax policy.

The original European proposals were limited to banks. They include a cap on bankers bonuses that has gone down less well in financial services soaked Westminster and came out in the form of an amendment to a byzantine new set of banking regulations designed to rein in some of the banks wilder excesses and penchant for globalised secrecy.

“I’m very sympathetic [to the idea of country-by-country reporting],” Mr Cable told The Sunday Telegraph. “If something could come out of the G8 process leading into the OECD that would be very good.

“Then you would get a proper international agreement across the countries that matter. That would be a good forum in which to get some kind of agreement to establish good practice.”

“There is mounting concern about where tax is actually paid,” Mr Cable said.

“The danger at the moment is that this just spills over into a generalised anti-business, anti-multinational sentiment which is unhelpful because we do want successful businesses, we do want inward investment. We don’t want people to be stigmatised on the basis of ad hoc little bits of research.”

Written by Cyrus Bozorgmehr - Google+ Profile - More articles by Cyrus Bozorgmehr

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