Thursday, November 24, 2011

Finland wants to connect tax transparency with public procurement

In June we brought you a report from Matti Ylönen : Letter from Helsinki - Finland gets serious. Here is another guest blog from Matti with positive news on further developments in Finland:
While discussions on binding Country-by-Country reporting standards are steadily gaining momentum in international fora, the city board of Helsinki has decided that it's time to open another track. After returning the initiative earlier for further preparation, the board is now ready for Helsinki to start the background work on how the City of Helsinki could positively favour companies that report their key financial information openly and on country-by-country basis in public procurement.

Furthermore, the resolution called for finding out possibilities on how the work against tax havens could become part of this criteria. The resolution still needs approval from the city council, which looks very likely. The initiative came from Thomas Wallgren from the social democratic group, and it has gathered support from several parties in the board.

The decision in Helsinki was inspired by the work done in other municipalities in Sweden, Norway, France and elsewhere. As Thomas Wallgren noted, "this vote happens at a time when scandals are disclosed about how the privatisation of elderly care in Sweden and Finland means that companies are making huge profit from outsourced welfare services, evade taxes, pay huge bonuses to bosses --- and leave old people alone with their agony and their wet diapers.

There is a window of opportunity now for connecting our local work in Helsinki with the winds of change globally. Everywhere now there is a tremendous need and demand for a post-neoliberal policy and economy. I do not want to be romantic about our role. But it would be nice if we could contribute a bit from Helsinki."
(For more on country-by-country reporting, see here.)


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