British tax agreements must benefit poor countries | ActionAid UK

British tax agreements must benefit poor countries

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In response to today’s Treasury announcement that British overseas territories with financial centres have signed agreements on sharing tax information, Melanie Ward, Head of Advocacy at ActionAid, said:

“Today’s announcement is a step forward as far as the UK and a few European countries are concerned but it will do nothing to help poor countries deal with the industrial scale tax dodging that is so damaging to them.

“The Prime Minister has promised that the forthcoming G8 will help developing countries prosper but if a new deal only helps the richest and most powerful countries then it will not be worth the paper it is written on. The government must now force UK tax havens to take concrete steps that will benefit developing countries. This means immediately signing the existing multilateral convention on information exchange which also includes developing countries.

This year David Cameron has the chance to lead the world in putting a stop to tax dodging and tax havens under the G8 Presidency. He has said that his G8 will prioritise “putting our own house in order and helping developing countries to prosper”. This means putting a stop to a tax system which allows rich companies and individuals to fiddle the books, while hard-working poor people strive to make a living and 1 in 8 go to bed hungry. It means overhauling a global financial system that allows people to hide behind phantom companies and conduct dodgy deals.

>Find out about ActionAid’s tax justice campaign