Calls for Scots Government to stop handouts to ‘tax dodging firms’

Willie Rennie has called on the Scottish Government to stop payments to companies like Amazon. Picture: John Devlin

Willie Rennie has called on the Scottish Government to stop payments to companies like Amazon. Picture: John Devlin

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THE Scottish Government is facing calls to stop handing out millions of pounds in taxpayers cash to firms caught up in tax avoidance and who don’t pay staff a living wage.

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie made the call as he took part in a protest outside the Amazon plant in Dunfermline today. In recent years over £5 million of government funding was paid to the firm through Scottish Enterprise despite the organisation only paying staff £7.20 an hour. In 2014 the corporation paid £11 million in tax despite £5.3 billion of British sales.

“For Scotland to be a fairer society where everyone has the chance to get up and get on there cannot be one set of rules for massive corporations and another for everyone else,” Mr Rennie said today.

“Tax avoidance rules and paying workers fairly should apply to both the Davids and the Goliaths of the business world. But at the moment corporations like Amazon are being rewarded for failing to pay their workers properly and for only paying measly levels of tax.”

The Lib Dems’ manifesto, being launched tomorrow, will call for a restriction on future business development funding, such as regional selective assistance, to companies that pay the Living Wage.

It will also call for Holyrood’s Public Audit Committee to examine all future grants to businesses above £250,000 before they are paid to satisfy us that the recipient company pays a fair level of UK tax.

“If the other political parties are committed to reducing wealth inequality in Scotland, they should be guaranteeing that they will not dole out taxpayer support to these kind of corporations,” Mr Rennie added.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats will not pay government grants to companies if they do not pay the Living Wage or their taxes.”

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