One of my main priorities in the European Parliament is the fight for tax justice.
Did you know that there is a staggering £34bn in uncollected tax in the UK every single year? That's around £500 for every man, woman and child in the country. Just think of what that money could be spent on - the schools and hospitals it could build - if it was being paid in tax as it's supposed to be.
In 2014, we got a shocking insight into just how far and wide these practices are spread. In Luxembourg, a whistleblower and a group of journalists leaked thousands of documents that showed that hundreds of multinational companies were coming up with highly complex arrangements to bring their tax bill down to almost zero. I know of lots of small, family-run businesses in the South East who dutifully pay the right amount of tax every year. How on earth are they supposed to compete if their big international rivals are paying virtually no tax at all?
In the wake of 'Lux Leaks', people across Europe have decided that enough is enough, and action must be taken. And that action has to be taken at a European level. Tax dodgers are able to do what they do by taking advantage of the gaps that exist between different national tax systems. If we work together across borders, and close those gaps, we take away the opportunity to dodge taxes.
I have been leading the fight on this in Brussels, putting pressure on EU civil servants and national governments to do more. I am a member of the Parliament's special investigative committee on tax, established to look into tax avoidance and tax evasion. And last year I co-authored a major report on tax dodging, which was voted through in December 2015 by an overwhelming majority in the European Parliament. The Tories and UKIP were some of the only MEPs to vote against the report, showing once again whose side they are really on.
My report contained a number of recommendations to the civil servants in the European Commission for new laws to be introduced at EU level to stop tax dodging once and for all. They have already responded to some of those recommendations, which is great. But there is much more to do before we start to close that tax gap.
The fight for tax justice has only just begun.
You can find out more about my report, and how you can get involved, here: