I could not agree more. So long as a reasonable criteria can be defined – and those proposed by the government so far utterly fail in that respect – assessing the suitability of a government contractor on the basis of their tax paid and, as importantly, on their disclosure of their tax paid is wholly appropriate behaviour for any government.
If a company does not pay the tax due then it is prosecuted in the courts. And if the courts say that it has not paid the tax due then it is guilty of tax evasion.
There is no other definition of having or having not paid the tax due.
So, we’ve a very simple method of ensuring your wishes here. Those companies that have been found guilty of tax evasion in court should be struck off the list of government bidders. Those that have not not.
Similarly, the law currently tells companies how they must reveal taxes paid in their accounts. Which all of them do in fact do.
And as to this:
And candidly I doubt the EU would uphold a challenge.
If a company is obeying the law in its country of incorporation then it cannot (repeat, cannot!) be barred from applying for UK government contracts.
So if a German company is revealing tax paid according to German law then it cannot be stopped from applying for a UK government contract.