Following on from a joint declaration with other NGOs last week, international development agency Christian Aid believes poor countries should be able to use their own wealth and resources to help them overcome poverty, and is urging supporters to pressure PM Gordon Brown to end tax loopholes that undermine this possibility.
The tax revenues some multinationals fail to hand over to developing countries is depriving the poorest people in the world of money they need to pay for schools, hospitals and roads, says the agency.
Christian Aid estimates that corporate tax avoidance and evasion in the developing world amounts to $160 billion a year.
These revenues would be enough to save the lives of 350,000 children a year under the age of five - almost 1,000 infants a day, every day, it says.
As a result the development and advocacy agency is calling on the UK government to:
* support an international accounting standard on country-by-country reporting, so that companies have to account for where they made their profits and how much tax they paid on them.
* use its influence to encourage other world leaders to do the same.
* help the poorest countries in the world pay for their own development
The current economic crisis is a rare opportunity for root-and-branch reform of the financial system that would benefit rich and poor countries alike, the NGO declares.
A spokesperson explained: "If the secrecy surrounding multinationals’ profits ended then countries would know if they were getting fair taxes from their profits. The world leaders in Doha cannot deliver an end to tax secrecy alone, but they could make a start."
She added: "Concerned people acting together can make sure the British prime minister helps get his colleagues singing from the same songsheet."
Those who support these aims can email Gordon Brown from Christian Aid's website and ask him to prove he’s got "the tax factor" when it comes to global justice and eradicating poverty.
The "email the PM" link is here: http://tinyurl.com/5lews3