Jesse Jackson backs UK lobby on climate change and tax transparency

By staff writers
18 Oct 2010

American civil rights activist, the Rev Jesse Jackson, will be in London on Wednesday 20 October to back a lobby of Parliament on climate change and global tax transparency.

The lobby is being organised by the UK-based international development agency Christian Aid, in an attempt to move the two issues up the political agenda in Westminster and beyond.

Jackson and the Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell, will address a 2,000 strong crowd at Methodist Central Hall in Westminster at 11am on 20 October - the day the government's Comprehensive Spending Review, which will include cuts hitting the poorest people in Britain, will be announced.

At 3pm, Christian Aid supporters from over 350 constituencies will lobby their local MPs at the House of Commons, asking them to help secure stronger government action on climate change and international tax dodging by some unscrupulous multi-national companies.

The Rev Jesse Jackson declared: "We understand that times are hard, both in the US and the UK, but we are still better off than our neighbours in the developing world. We are reminded that in the Bible's New Testament, Jesus teaches us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and shelter the homeless."

"So while we fight for jobs and peace and justice in the UK and the US, we must remember to keep hope alive for our brothers and sisters in Africa, in the Caribbean, in South Asia, and all those in need around the world," he said.

Paul Brannen, head of advocacy and influence at Christian Aid, commented: "October 20th is a very important day in the political calendar, and for the country. The Comprehensive Spending Review will ensure the majority of MPs will be at the House of Commons, giving our supporters an ideal opportunity to lobby their local representative."

"With spending cuts afoot, and more than 200 new MPs, it’s vital we lobby them on the need for urgent action on climate change and tax dodging, both of which affect millions of people living in developing countries. We also want to take this opportunity to thank the government for protecting the aid budget. A test of a country’s commitment to helping eradicate global poverty can be seen by its actions when times are economically hard, even more so than in the good times."

The Christian Aid spokesperson added: "We are delighted Jesse Jackson, an outspoken campaigner for social justice, will be joining us to help get our messages across to the British government."

On climate change, Christian Aid (http://www.christianaid.org.uk/) is campaigning for rich countries to:

• Make it mandatory for companies to publicly declare their carbon emissions to an agreed standard.
• Demonstrate leadership in the urgent need to move towards a global low carbon economy.

On global tax transparency, Christian Aid wants reforms that would:

• Require companies trading internationally to reveal the profits made and taxes paid in every country where they operate.
• Ensure an automatic exchange of information between tax jurisdictions to counter the secrecy offered by tax havens.

Buy Christian Aid charity gifts and support present aid online.

[Ekk/3]

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