Anneliese Dodds MEP

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It often seems to be the case that, while bad news makes the headlines without fail, good news regularly goes unreported.  This week’s meeting of European finance ministers is a good case in point.  You have to look pretty hard to find much coverage of it, but quietly the EU took yet another positive step in the fight for tax justice.

 

Up until now, you could only access detailed information about the “beneficial ownership” of a company or trust if you were an authority investigating money laundering or terrorist financing.  Tax authorities, who need this information just as much as their counterparts looking into financial crime, were cut out of the loop.  That will now change, and soon tax authorities will also be able to see exactly who owns a company and where they are based - and another loophole beloved of tax evaders will have been closed.

 

This is important work, and praise should rightly be due to the campaigners who have fought for it, the European civil servants who drafted the legislation and MEPs and national governments who worked for it to become law. 

 

But, as so often in the fight for tax justice, it’s a small step towards tackling a giant problem.  We are still a long way from having properly cracked down on the twin problems of tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance.  Frankly, we have a duty to our citizens to move a lot faster and with a lot more ambition.

 

So, building on this week’s decision, we now need to see that beneficial ownership information made completely public, because it will only be through proper transparency that we will be able to hold the ultimate owners of companies and trusts to account.  A proposal to do just that is passing through the European Parliament at the moment, and I am committed to doing all I can to make sure it will go ahead.

 

And more than that, if we want to truly stamp out these practices once and for all, then we need to make sure that a consistent set of tax rules are applied right across the EU.  That doesn’t mean setting a single tax rate for the whole of Europe, but it does mean creating a level playing field for companies so that they can’t play off one country’s tax system against another’s.  At their meeting, EU finance ministers made positive noises about this - but we are going to need actions as well as words.  A proposal for a single set of tax rules was first made back in 2011, and discussions have been stuck since then because of national governments being unable to set aside petty differences and instead come together for the common good.

 

If that is going to change - and it is clear, in the wake of scandals like Lux Leaks and the Panama Papers, that something is going to have to - then it will require a real effort of political will and serious levels of ambition which have been lacking up to now.

 

That includes the UK.  Whatever the final form of Brexit - hard, soft, red, white or blue - the UK should and must commit to upholding the highest possible standards when it comes to fighting tax dodging, and that means engaging constructively in European debates on tax for as long as we remain a member of the EU.  It also means committing to upholding those high standards as part of any future UK-EU relationship.

 

What the Tory government must not do, as it has too many times in the past, is seek to water down European tax legislation behind closed doors.  Nor must it seek to fire the starting gun on a race to the bottom by trying to position the UK as a tax haven sitting off the shore of the EU.  No one wins in that scenario.

The EU is inching forwards in the fight against tax justice - it’s time to pick up the pace

Anneliese will be attending an event to hear from constituents what they would like from the Brexit negotiations.

 

‘Meet Your MEP- What Kind of Brexit do you want?’ will be held on the 9th of December, in Maison Francaise d’Oxford, 2-10 Norham Road, Oxford, between 11:30am-1pm.

 

Attendees will be able to ask Anneliese questions, discuss the implications of Brexit and what they think the future EU-UK relationship should look like. A light lunch will also be provided.

 

Anneliese said: ‘Leaving the European Union is the biggest constitutional decision we are likely to make for a generation, and there should, quite rightly, be discussion and debate between constituents and their political representatives about their concerns. I am hugely looking forward

to hearing from some of my constituents about what kind of Brexit they would like to see, in order for me to make sure we get the best deal for Britain.’

 

If you are interested in attending this event, please register through this link:

http://www.europarl.org.uk/en/uk-events/forthcomingevents/mymeps2016/09122016-mymeps-oxford/register-mymepsoxford.html

Anneliese Dodds MEP invites constituents to have their say on Brexit

 

The 30th of November is the last day of Islamophobia Awareness Month.

Following the divisive events of 2016, Islamophobia awareness should not be confined to only one month in the year.

Recent figures released by the Home Office and the National Police Chiefs’ Council in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have shown that there was a ‘dramatic’ and ‘clear’ 41% increase in the incidents of reported racially and religiously aggravated offences in July following the result of the EU referendum, compared to the previous 2015 statistics. These statistics support previous news reports documenting an increase in reported hate crimes.

Whilst these statistics on their own are hugely concerning, this spike is part and parcel of a larger and more general picture of intolerance and Islamophobia. Figures released by MEND, an anti-Islamophobia think tank, have shown that this year, there have been 5,209 reported religious hate crimes; a rise of 60% from 2014-2015.

This taps into growing Islamophobic sentiment, which, unfortunately, seems to have been fuelled in part by media coverage. A study by the Cardiff School of Journalism, which looked at 1,000 newspaper articles between 2000 and 2008, found that news articles generally presented Islam as a dangerous religion, with the most common adjectives used in articles focusing on Islam being, amongst others, ‘radical’ and ‘extremist.’ References to radical Muslims outnumbered references to moderate Muslims by seventeen to one.

Right across Europe, Islamophobic attacks seem to disproportionately affect women. According to statistics from the Fundamental Rights Agency, 70% of all attacks on Muslims in Europe are against Muslim women. This seems to be due to the fact that one of the most visible signs of Islam is the wearing of a headscarf, which is traditionally worn by some Muslim women. Furthermore, in some EU member states, there has been evidence of institutional and legislative Islamophobia. Bans on headscarves, and more recently, birkinis, have only inflamed anti-Islamic rhetoric.

For all these reasons it is great to see that MEND and Stand Up to Racism are hosting a variety of nationwide events to raise awareness of Islamophobia and how to combat it.

I have dedicated a section of my website http://www.anneliesedoddsmep.uk/stopping_hate_crimes to help residents of the South East report hate crime they've experienced, and provide guidance to people who have witnessed a hate crime incident.  

 

 

The 30th of November is the last day of Islamophobia Awareness Month.

Following the divisive events of 2016, Islamophobia awareness should not be confined to only one month in the year.

Recent figures released by the Home Office and the National Police Chiefs’ Council in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have shown that there was a ‘dramatic’ and ‘clear’ 41% increase in the incidents of reported racially and religiously aggravated offences in July following the result of the EU referendum, compared to the previous 2015 statistics. These statistics support previous news reports documenting an increase in reported hate crimes.

Whilst these statistics on their own are hugely concerning, this spike is part and parcel of a larger and more general picture of intolerance and Islamophobia. Figures released by MEND, an anti-Islamophobia think tank, have shown that this year, there have been 5,209 reported religious hate crimes; a rise of 60% from 2014-2015.

This taps into growing Islamophobic sentiment, which, unfortunately, seems to have been fuelled in part by media coverage. A study by the Cardiff School of Journalism, which looked at 1,000 newspaper articles between 2000 and 2008, found that news articles generally presented Islam as a dangerous religion, with the most common adjectives used in articles focusing on Islam being, amongst others, ‘radical’ and ‘extremist.’ References to radical Muslims outnumbered references to moderate Muslims by seventeen to one.

Right across Europe, Islamophobic attacks seem to disproportionately affect women. According to statistics from the Fundamental Rights Agency, 70% of all attacks on Muslims in Europe are against Muslim women. This seems to be due to the fact that one of the most visible signs of Islam is the wearing of a headscarf, which is traditionally worn by some Muslim women. Furthermore, in some EU member states, there has been evidence of institutional and legislative Islamophobia. Bans on headscarves, and more recently, birkinis, have only inflamed anti-Islamic rhetoric.

For all these reasons it is great to see that MEND and Stand Up to Racism are hosting a variety of nationwide events to raise awareness of Islamophobia and how to combat it.

I have dedicated a section of my website http://www.anneliesedoddsmep.uk/stopping_hate_crimes to help residents of the South East report hate crime they've experienced, and provide guidance to people who have witnessed a hate crime incident.  

 

Anneliese Dodds marks Islamophobia Awareness month

  The 30th of November is the last day of Islamophobia Awareness Month. Following the divisive events of 2016, Islamophobia awareness should not be confined to only one month in...

On Saturday, I joined Jeremy Corbyn MP, Andrew Smith MP and hundreds of Labour activists to campaign in Oxford to #CareForTheNHS. 

Under the Tories, our NHS is in a critical condition. It is underfunded and understaffed, with the worst NHS deficits on record at £2.45 billion. Around 3.9 million people are now on the English waiting list to start treatment. 1.8 million people waited four or more hours in A&E last year- marking an astonishing increase since 2010. One in four patients have to wait a week or more to see a GP or nurse, or fail to get an appointment at all.

On Saturday, Jeremy and Andrew also visited Restore, a local mental health charity in Oxford, and rightly applauded the vital work they do there. Restore 
offer a range of services, from recovery groups to offering those with mental illnesses training and employment coaching to help them back into work.

Despite earlier Conservative pledges to achieve parity between the NHS’ physical and mental health provisions, analysis by the King’s Fund think tank suggest that 40% of the 58 NHS trusts in England saw budget cuts in 2015-2016. 

Following the referendum result, the situation looks set to deteriorate. The Autumn Statement was devoid of any credible mention of the NHS- a far cry from earlier promises by Brexiteers that the supposed £350 million a week Britons ‘give’ to the EU could be invested in the NHS.

Brexit also has the potential to cause further NHS staffing issues. Nationwide, the NHS is reliant on workers from the European Union, from doctors and nurses to catering staff and cleaners. This is particularly true within the South East of England. In the Thames Valley, over 10% of NHS hospital and community health staff are from EU countries, and in Kent, Surrey and Sussex, the figure is similar, with 9% of qualified nursing, midwifery and health visitors hailing from the European Union.

Unless the Tories strike the right Brexit deal, there will be growing, and ever more serious gaps in the NHS. It is more important than ever to hold Theresa May and the Tories to account to protect our NHS, and to make sure that we get the best Brexit deal for Britain.

 

On Saturday, I joined Jeremy Corbyn MP, Andrew Smith MP and hundreds of Labour activists to campaign in Oxford to #CareForTheNHS. 

Under the Tories, our NHS is in a critical condition. It is underfunded and understaffed, with the worst NHS deficits on record at £2.45 billion. Around 3.9 million people are now on the English waiting list to start treatment. 1.8 million people waited four or more hours in A&E last year- marking an astonishing increase since 2010. One in four patients have to wait a week or more to see a GP or nurse, or fail to get an appointment at all.

On Saturday, Jeremy and Andrew also visited Restore, a local mental health charity in Oxford, and rightly applauded the vital work they do there. Restore
offer a range of services, from recovery groups to offering those with mental illnesses training and employment coaching to help them back into work.

Despite earlier Conservative pledges to achieve parity between the NHS’ physical and mental health provisions, analysis by the King’s Fund think tank suggest that 40% of the 58 NHS trusts in England saw budget cuts in 2015-2016. 

Following the referendum result, the situation looks set to deteriorate. The Autumn Statement was devoid of any credible mention of the NHS- a far cry from earlier promises by Brexiteers that the supposed £350 million a week Britons ‘give’ to the EU could be invested in the NHS.

Brexit also has the potential to cause further NHS staffing issues. Nationwide, the NHS is reliant on workers from the European Union, from doctors and nurses to catering staff and cleaners. This is particularly true within the South East of England. In the Thames Valley, over 10% of NHS hospital and community health staff are from EU countries, and in Kent, Surrey and Sussex, the figure is similar, with 9% of qualified nursing, midwifery and health visitors hailing from the European Union.

Unless the Tories strike the right Brexit deal, there will be growing, and ever more serious gaps in the NHS. It is more important than ever to hold Theresa May and the Tories to account to protect our NHS, and to make sure that we get the best Brexit deal for Britain.

Anneliese joins Jeremy to #CareForTheNHS

On Saturday, I joined Jeremy Corbyn MP, Andrew Smith MP and hundreds of Labour activists to campaign in Oxford to #CareForTheNHS.  Under the Tories, our NHS is in a critical...

As a fundamentally cross-border industry, and one that has known its fair share of controversy in the past, financial services shows perhaps more starkly than any other sector the stark choices that Brexit will forces us to make: will we have a win-win trading situation, built on mutual cooperation and respect, or be firing the starting gun for a deregulatory race to the bottom?

Financial services account for 12% of our economic output, generating £66bn in tax revenues every year - and employ over 2 million people, right across the country.  They underpin much of the rest of the economy as well - providing the loans and financial support that allow our manufacturing, retail and other sectors to grow and provide more jobs.  A UK-EU deal that doesn’t work for our financial services sector is bad news for everyone. 

At the same time, we cannot and must not forget that it was the worst excesses of this sector that caused the financial crisis and the near-decade of pain which has followed: bankers racking up multi-million pound bonuses and expecting the taxpayer to pick up the tab when it all went wrong.

It should be possible for the UK and the EU to negotiate a mutually beneficial deal on financial services - one that allows UK firms to continue trading with their EU counterparts, while financial stability is preserved and both British and European consumers are protected. 

But while this is possible, to get there will require humility on the part of both British and European negotiators.  The British side will need to accept that this multi-billion pound industry has grown up in London precisely because of our membership of the single market, and the ability of financial services firms based in the UK to ‘passport’ into other EU countries.  Without the certainties of continued membership, the evidence suggests that we are already losing jobs to Dublin, Frankfurt, Paris and further afield.  Representatives of the other 27 EU countries, though, will also need to be convinced of the value of having access to the business that London provides: with EU businesses importing £20bn in banking services from the UK in 2014, and UK-based banks providing more than £1.1tn in cross-border lending to the EU this year.  By acknowledging shared benefits we can begin to see the path towards a positive new deal.

But there is a much darker alternative: an arrangement cooked up behind closed doors, with fanatically free market Tories finding common cause with the worst kind of hedge fund managers and speculative traders, who decide that the best thing possible for the UK’s financial services sector is to deregulate back to the heady days of the 1980s, with unlimited bonuses for those bankers who take the biggest risks with other people’s money.

From my conversations so far, I genuinely believe that most people in the financial services sector want the former outcome and not the latter.  But the longer we have an atmosphere of uncertainty created by our government’s refusal to set out any aspect of its negotiating strategy, the more the opportunity for the least scrupulous, deregulatory voices to start making themselves heard.  Unless we change course, it won’t be long before similar voices start popping up within the rest of the EU suggesting pre-emptive action.  We’re already seeing this kind of exercise taking place following Donald Trump’s election victory, with some responding to rumours of a deregulatory agenda in the US before Trump has even taken office.

Those of us who want to see a flourishing financial services sector which serves the needs of wider society need to do all we can to make sure we ensure a win-win situation at the end of the Brexit talks.  Theresa May’s government needs to pull its finger out if we’re going to keep financial services jobs in Britain, and prevent a return to the bad old days of casino banking - which British taxpayers are still paying for.

A Brexit deal could protect financial services jobs and still uphold high standards - but the government has to want it

As a fundamentally cross-border industry, and one that has known its fair share of controversy in the past, financial services shows perhaps more starkly than any other sector the stark...


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