British Overseas Territories must cease to be tax havens

June 3rd, 2009

I missed this whilst on holiday last week (which I was, for those who did not notice): the House of Commons International Development Committee published a report saying:

Developing countries suffer disproportionately from the existence of tax havens which prevent them receiving much-needed tax revenue which they should derive from economic activity within their borders. The ending of tax havens is necessary, not only for reasons of justice but also to promote good governance and robust management of public finances in poor countries.

We believe that the consensus reached at the G20 represents an important milestone on the way to reforming and fully implementing international taxation standards. The UK Government deserves credit for ensuring this issue was given appropriate priority at the London summit. Momentum now needs to be maintained.

The UK has an opportunity to make amends for its previous failure to address this issue by taking urgent steps now to ensure that British Overseas Territories cease to be tax havens. We do not believe that the Prime Minister writing to the territories concerned is sufficient; more direct action must be taken. We request that, in response to this Report, the Department provides us with an update on progress with the FCO’s work with Overseas Territories towards their achievement of the OECD’s taxation standards.

Do not doubt: people listen to what we campaigners say.

Written by Richard Murphy

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