Bolder action needed to tackle tax dodging, says Christian Aid

By agency reporter
July 13, 2015

Christian Aid has described the Chancellor’s neglect of structural problems with global tax rules as a missed opportunity to go ‘beyond aid’ to help developing countries collect taxes.

Christine Allen, Director of Policy and Public Affairs said, “Multinational tax dodging is keeping millions of people in poverty in developing countries and draining money from essential services like schools and healthcare. The Chancellor has put this high on the agenda in recent years but today’s Budget has done little to respond to the scandal of global tax dodging.

“Just last month the IMF calculated that corporate tax avoidance costs developing countries around US$212 billion a year, and stopping that means structural changes to tax rules. If the UK is to maintain its leading role in promoting tax transparency, more needs to be done.

“British people are some of the world’s most generous in responding to poverty and humanitarian need, and will welcome the Chancellor’s commitment to continue providing 0.7 per cent of national income for aid, which will save millions of lives.

“But as the Secretary of State for International Development has said, real hope for the poorest means moving beyond aid. Urgent global tax reform is an important part of this.” (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/21860)

Ms Allen continued, “More than 80,000 people in this country signed up to a call called on the Government to introduce comprehensive measures to tackle tax dodging within the first 100 days of taking office.

“We welcome today’s commitment to increase HMRC’s resources to tackle tax dodging in the UK, but only a thorough and transparent review of all tax breaks will reveal which bring true benefits to society. The recently introduced Diverted Profits Tax also shows that the UK can drive global progress and set the standard for others to follow.

“More broadly, this Budget does not effectively address the scale of the tax dodging challenge, particularly in developing countries. The Conservative manifesto promised to lead the world on tax and transparency. It included a commitment to review the case for companies’ profits and taxes to be published on a country-by-country basis.

“The Government should set the global standard on this by insisting on making this information public, so that people in developing countries can see what taxes companies are paying in their communities.

“As we’ve seen before with company ownership registers, when the UK insists on transparency, other countries follow suit. We urge the Chancellor to be bold again and not to give in to calls for secrecy. We look forward to seeing bolder and more comprehensive action from him over the next year.”

* Christian Aid http://www.christianaid.org.uk/index.aspx

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