Melanie Ward, Head of Public Affairs at ActionAid, said: "We warmly welcome the government’s continued protection of the aid budget. UK aid saves lives and despite these difficult economic times, we can all be proud that we are not walking away from our commitment to the world’s poorest people. The government deserves real credit for this.
"However, today the Chancellor said that aggressive tax avoidance is morally repugnant when he has in fact made it easier for British companies to dodge their taxes in developing countries. A new corporate tax loophole will cost the world’s poorest countries as much as £4 billion a year. The UK will also lose £1 billion. This is all vital revenue that could be invested in improving healthcare and education.
"Given the headline tax avoidance initiatives announced today, the government’s decision to water down its anti-tax haven rules is extremely short-sighted. Recent polling shows that nearly 80% of the British public wants the government to do much more to prevent endemic corporate tax avoidance, not open a new tax loophole.”
"The Chancellor must consider the impact this new tax dodge for business will have on the world’s poorest. There is still time for the government to rethink its plans before these changes become law, and we urge them to do so immediately."