Labour's John McDonnell calls for Robin Hood tax and a Hippocratic Oath for accountants to tackle tax avoidance

Rebecca Smith
The shadow chancellor wants to raise the tax rate on share and other financial transactions
The shadow chancellor wants to raise the tax rate on share and other financial transactions (Source: Getty)

Labour's shadow chancellor John McDonnell said his party would roll out a Robin Hood tax on financial transactions, as he said the world's big businesses should feel a moral duty to pay the correct amount of tax.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, McDonnell said a Robin Hood tax could be used to fund public services.

He said:

I just say to the corporations and the super rich: pay your taxes. At the moment, there’s a lack of confidence in the tax system being fair, because of the exposure that’s gone on.

So I think there’s a moral duty on those who earn more and the corporations who profit is actually say we’re going to reject tax avoidance, we’re going to reject it as a concept.

Read more: Pensioners to be hit hardest by Labour's Robin Hood tax plans

He said firms should tell their auditors and accountants: "Maximise our tax rather than minimise it."

The accountancy firms, McDonnell said, should have "a new Hippocratic Oath", where they sign up to being committed to tackling tax avoidance - "rather than enabling all these bizarre schemes to enable that to happen, and then laundering money into tax havens".

"There needs to be transparency. We should publish our income tax returns. I do it, Jeremy Corbyn does it - I'm saying to anyone in government who's involved in decisions around taxation publish your income tax returns. I think wealthy people should do it as well, I think the corporations should."

The shadow chancellor had said ahead of attending the WEF that he was going with a warning for the global elite.

“Just as Davos faces the risk of an avalanche this week, growth for a few risks a political and social avalanche unless there is fundamental change to our rigged economic system,” McDonnell said.

Read more: John McDonnell is going to Davos with "a warning for the global elite"

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