Christian Aid: G20 Renews Fight Against Tax Haven Secrecy
November 7th, 2011
November 7th, 2011
LONDON – Significant international pressure from an increasing number of policy makers is steadily mounting against the secrecy offered by tax havens, says Christian Aid following the G20 in Cannes.
While the Eurocrisis took centre stage at the summit, a series of important developments in the campaign for tax justice that emerged at the same time went largely unremarked.
They clearly indicate, however, that awareness is growing in political echelons of the harmful impact of financial secrecy – a phenomenon that has given rise to what has been called ‘the ugliest chapter in global economic affairs since slavery’.
The developments include
Christian Aid senior economic justice adviser Dr David McNair said as the summit ended: ‘Where once we had only rhetoric, we now have the first shoots of political will. That is a welcome new development.
‘But by itself, political will is not enough. Resources and follow up processes must now be made available to consign tax haven secrecy to history.
‘The situation that exists at present has been called the ugliest chapter in global economic affairs since slavery. That is not an exaggeration.
‘We estimate that developing countries lose around $160 billion a year because of tax dodging by multinationals and other companies trading internationally. That lost tax revenue could save lives.
Dr McNair was particularly critical of the G20’s failure to implement advice commissioned from leading international organisations on how developing countries could collect more revenue.
Strongly welcomed by Christian Aid, the joint report from the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, UN, and Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development demanded that G20 countries assessed the impact of their tax policies on the developing world. In particular, they were urged to disclose the tax incentives they offer multinationals.
‘The developments around the G20 are encouraging, but more pressure must be exerted to convince tax havens that the financial secrecy they offer in no longer viable. They must be persuaded to become more transparent, ‘said Dr McNair.
Christian Aid is part of the End Tax Haven Secrecy campaign which prior to the start of the summit delivered signatures from more than 40,000 people worldwide calling for tax reform to French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
‘We are delighted that the G20 has listened to the concerns of 40,000 people across the world calling for an End to Tax Haven Secrecy – but we need sustained follow-up action to ensure this becomes a reality. We hope the UK government takes this forward over the next year,’ said Dr McNair.
The campaign calls for changes in the way that companies are required to report their accounts, to ensure that multinational companies publish the taxes they pay and the profits they make in each country where they work. It also wants automatic exchange of tax information between countries globally.
End Tax Haven Secrecy is a global coalition involving 56 organisations in more than 20 countries.
Further information from Andrew Hogg on 0207 523 2058 or 07872 350534. 24 hour press duty phone – 07850 242950
Notes to Editors
1. Christian Aid works in some of the world’s poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the lives they deserve.
2. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. Our report, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to end poverty. Details at http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/poverty-over-report.pdf
3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of 100 churches and church-related organisations that work together inhumanitarian assistance and development. Further details at http://www.actalliance.org
4. Follow Christian Aid’s newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire
5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit www.christianaid.org.uk
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