UK-based international development agency Christian Aid is urging supporters to recruit their local MPs in a bid to pressurise the British government to bring tax justice to economically impoverished countries.
The charity has launched an on-line campaign to encourage supporters to email their local MPs asking them, in turn, to lobby Prime Minister Gordon Brown on the need for an end to off-shore banking secrecy.
At present, creative accounting enables multinational companies to reduce their tax liabilities in poorer countries which lack the resources and expertise to challenge them.
Profits are artificially depressed, with the true amounts hidden in off-shore accounts to reduce tax liabilities as far as possible.
“Whether you’re at home, in your office lunch break or down at the local internet café, go to www.christianaid.org.uk/tax and send your email. It will take a couple of minutes and could change the world,” says Matthew Sowemimo, Christian Aid’s tax campaign officer.
He continued: "We are asking supporters to get their MPs involved. When an MP writes to the Prime Minister, he or she has to receive a personal reply. We are confident that a lot of MPs will support this and that Gordon Brown will be shown the strong support that exists for real reform."
Christian Aid estimates that every year, aggressive tax avoidance, and tax evasion, deprives the developing world of at least US$160bn in lost corporate tax. Such an amount, if used according to current spending patterns, could save the lives of 350,000 children under the age of five a year.
The campaign calls for new rules to be introduced that would force multinational companies to reveal the profits made and the taxes paid in every country where they operate.
To join the campaign, go to www.christianaid.org.uk/tax