General Elections: Party-political Spending

Debate between Lord Harries of Pentregarth and Baroness Penn
Wednesday 29th November 2023

(6 months, 4 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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My Lords, I believe that as a result of the debates on that Act the Government took forward a commitment to ensure information sharing between the police and other relevant authorities with a view to finding a way to improve that process. The sharing of information could improve the ability of relevant authorities to identify any individuals making or facilitating donations from foreign powers and sanction them. We have a commitment to report back to Parliament next year on that work.

Lord Harries of Pentregarth Portrait Lord Harries of Pentregarth (CB)
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In recent elections there has been concern on the part of non-political campaigning organisations about the limits on their expenditure. Have the Government reviewed what non-political campaigning groups are able to spend at election time?

Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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I believe that the rules regarding third-party campaigning organisations will also be uprated as part of this work.

Deprived Areas

Debate between Lord Harries of Pentregarth and Baroness Penn
Thursday 1st July 2021

(2 years, 12 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Harries of Pentregarth Portrait Lord Harries of Pentregarth
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To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the report by the Institute of Health Equity Build Back Fairer in Greater Manchester: Health Equity and Dignified Lives, published on 30 June, what steps they are taking to address the (1) disparities in life-expectancy, and (2) social conditions, in England’s most deprived areas compared to the rest of the population.

Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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My Lords, the Government welcome Professor Marmot’s report and his insights into this important area. Reducing health inequalities is a core aim of the new office for health promotion. Under the Chief Medical Officer, the OHP will work with partners across government, the NHS, business and society to systemically tackle preventable risk factors, improve the nation’s health and narrow health inequalities.

Lord Harries of Pentregarth Portrait Lord Harries of Pentregarth (CB) [V]
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I thank the Minister for her Answer. The main findings of the Marmot report about gross and growing inequalities in life expectancy are sobering. What makes the situation even worse is that awareness of this was heightened by research and documentation more than 20 years ago. In what way do the policies of the present Government differ from the failed policies of previous Governments over the last decades?

G7 Global Tax Agreement

Debate between Lord Harries of Pentregarth and Baroness Penn
Tuesday 8th June 2021

(3 years ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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My Lords, I am afraid I again disagree. The agreement we have reached, although only at a G7 level, is hugely significant and represents progress on work that started five years ago on this initiative but a lot longer ago under other initiatives. A key part of that work for the UK has been the inclusion of both pillars of this agreement. That is something the US had not always signed up to and is a key shift in its position from previous negotiations.

Lord Harries of Pentregarth Portrait Lord Harries of Pentregarth (CB) [V]
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The initiative of President Biden, supported by the G7, is very warmly to be welcomed, but a number of potential loopholes have already been exposed—for example, that this tax would not apply to profits below 10%, when it is perfectly possible for companies to manipulate their figures so that in particular countries their profits are below 10%. Are the Government committed to closing off all those loopholes, so that these big corporations really do pay their fair share of the tax?

Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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My Lords, I emphasise again that the G7 agreement was a really important milestone in progressing this international work on tax. It is only the first step towards that agreement, and there is much more detail to be worked on. The next step will take place at the G20 next month, when more details will be discussed with a wider range of countries.

Tax Avoidance: Base Erosion and Profit Shifting

Debate between Lord Harries of Pentregarth and Baroness Penn
Monday 2nd November 2020

(3 years, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Harries of Pentregarth Portrait Lord Harries of Pentregarth
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To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking in their discussions relating to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting 2.0 Project to prioritise a fairer settlement for those less economically developed countries who lose income as a result of tax avoidance by multinational corporations.

Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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My Lords, the UK remains committed to the OECD’s base erosion and profit shifting 2.0 project. We robustly support the discussions being taken forward in the OECD’s inclusive framework group. That includes more than 100 jurisdictions and ensures that less economically developed countries have an equal say in developing international solutions. The UK continues to champion international initiatives that build capacity in developing countries.

Lord Harries of Pentregarth Portrait Lord Harries of Pentregarth (CB) [V]
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I thank the Minister for her answer. As she will know, low-income countries lose more of their income than do middle-income ones—some 9% as opposed to 3%—as a result of profit shifting by multinational companies. In the light of this, will Her Majesty’s Government prioritise the needs of low-income countries with a view to finding a process that will help them better than those presently on offer? I note that the Tax Justice Network is equipped and ready to take on this task if commissioned to do so.

Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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The UK is committed to BEPS 2.0 being an inclusive process. Capacity building and technical assistance remain key priorities for the UK as they empower developing countries to draw on more of their own resources as key enablers of the sustainable development goals. This includes a £47 million package from the UK to support developing countries’ tax and public finance systems, including the OECD’s work on international tax standards to tackle evasion and avoidance.