Top Stories

May 31, 2013


OECD prepares new rules to block corporate tax avoidance

The OECD is to draw up new rules to limit tax avoidance by some of the world's largest businesses, in time for a meeting of the G20 group of nations in July. The Paris-based organisation said that all of its 34 members backed proposals to crack down on schemes that allow multinational firms to pay as little as one percent tax on their profits. The agreement comes after increasing controversy over the tactics used by firms such as Amazon, Apple and Facebook to avoid taxes in Europe, where they make billions of pounds' worth of sales.  (Guardian)


Glencore hit by strikes at S Africa chrome mines

Glencore Xstrata has been forced to reduce its operations at three of its chrome mines in South Africa after hundreds of workers embarked on a wildcat strike. The industrial unrest is the latest example of the tensions plaguing South Africa’s volatile mining sector, which is still recovering from a wave of violent wildcat strikes last year. The strikes at Glencore Xstrata began this week after a worker claimed to have been assaulted by a shift supervisor at its Helena mine. The company opened an investigation, but workers downed tools and the unrest spread to two other mines. The company said that between 500 and 1,500 workers were involved in the strike and that 200 miners had been dismissed. (Financial Times*)

Policy & Research

‘Timid’ OFT under fire on payday loans

The UK’s Office of Fair Trading has been criticised by a parliamentary committee as “ineffective and timid” in failing to regulate the payday loans industry. The Public Accounts Committee said that the regulator had allowed “disgraceful” practices to take place and questioned why it had never used its power to issue fines. The committee that some lenders were using predatory techniques to target people on low incomes, encouraging them to take out loans that rapidly became out-of-control debts. Borrowers of payday loans quadrupled to 1.2 million between 2006 and 2009, and demand is believed to have increased even  further since. The main lenders include, Cash America International, which owns the QuickQuid franchise, and DFC Global Corp, owner of The Money Shop stores. (Financial Times*, Times*, Independent)

Report: Businesses will demand more from charity partnerships in future

Corporate partnerships will become increasingly commercialised over the next decade, with charities under pressure to boost the profits of businesses, according to a new report based on interviews with global thought leaders and an online survey of CSR practitioners. Respondents predicted that companies would demand a better understanding of the effects of the programmes supported, and that partnerships with charities would be designed to deliver shared goals. The report was produced by Corporate Citizenship with the Charities Trust. Linda Minnis, chief executive of the Charities Trust, said: "Developing robust evaluation measures will certainly provide an advantage… Having the ability to show hard-and-fast progress toward a stated objective strengthens the case for involvement.” (Third Sector)

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