Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has told global elites gathered in Davos that Labour will push ahead with plans for a so-called Robin Hood tax on City financial transactions to boost public services.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, Mr McDonnell accused the gathering of being complacent and not recognising growing anger across the globe with how business operates.
He said: “We will introduce a Robin Hood tax and we will use it to fund public services and also maintain our commitment to our development goals as well.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell warns Davos gathering that the way the global economy operates needs changing (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
“I think in that way there might be potential for changing the attitude of those millions and billions of people … who are becoming increasingly angry that they are not being treated fairly by the system, and that the system is rigged against them.”
The shadow chancellor made it clear that a Labour government would act on tax avoidance, stating: “I just say to the corporations and the super rich – pay your taxes.
“I think there’s a moral duty on those who earn more and the corporations who profit to actually say we are going to reject tax avoidance. Tell their auditors and accountants maximise our tax rather than minimise it.”
Accountants should have an equivalent of the Hippocratic oath taken by doctors, he said.
“We and the public are tired of seeing increasingly complex schemes being cooked up by accountancy firms with a direct interest in obscuring and hiding the earnings of their clients.
“I am suggesting that there should be a global Hippocratic oath that commits accountants to ensuring that the companies and individuals who use them eschew the use of tax avoidance and evasion schemes.”
Mr McDonnell added: “I just warn the Davos establishment, there’s an anger building out there you need to recognise and deal with.
“I think there’s an avalanche out there of discontent and resentment and alienation.”
When asked about the economic crisis in left-wing Venezuela, Mr McDonnell said the South American state “took a wrong turn”.
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