When the campaign for a Tax Dodging Bill was launched we didn’t know what to expect. An overwhelming 82,000 of us got involved in the campaign, with campaigners taking action up and down the country, asking questions at hustings, meeting your prospective MPs and making tackling tax dodging one of the top election issues. As a result we won commitments from every major party.
We saw that George Osborne still recognises the importance of tackling tax dodging. For example, the government promised to put more investment into HMRC to help them tackle tax dodgers more effectively and they’ve promised to eliminate a few specific tax breaks. But we didn’t see a comprehensive Tax Dodging Bill that would have provided a solution to the scale of the problem we face; a problem that 85% of the UK public agree needs to be addressed.
Although it’s not the result that we wanted, this doesn’t mean that we will give up. We will continue campaigning to tackle tax dodging because it costs us and developing countries billions. You can find out how else to get involved in the campaign to make tax fair here. Thank you for your support.
People affected by tax dodging in Zambia
Almost two thirds of Zambia’s people live below the poverty line. At the same time, big companies like Associated British Foods (owners of Silverspoon Sugar, Twinings tea and many more) dodge millions in taxes on their operations in Zambia. Between 2007 and 2012, a company called Zambia Sugar that is owned by Associated British Foods paid “Virtually no” corporation tax in Zambia despite making profits of $123 million. Corporate tax dodging like this denies Zambia’s government the funds desperately needed to provide basic services to their people, to save lives and to allow the country to pull itself out of poverty. Here are just a few of the people affected by a lack of government funds in Mpumba, Zambia.
Mpumba Primary School, Zambia
Mpumba Primary School is government funded and provides education for children from preschool up to grade nine. 739 children in total attend the school with around 80 children in classes designed for 40. The school receives very limited funds from the government so teachers at the school contribute from their own salaries to help pay for electricity.
Faines Kalaba, grandmother of a pupil at the school:
“A lot of things could change for the better if companies paid more tax to the government. We have a lot of problems which are caused by receiving insufficient funds. I would love to see a school that has enough infrastructure in place for pupils and teachers, as well as having enough teachers and learning and teaching materials…
“What is happening in Zambia is not good for the nation because if these companies paid more tax, I think a lot of these problems would be attended to. My grandson would like to be an engineer when he grows up but his education will be compromised which will limit his access to employment and opportunities.”
Mpumba Rural Health Centre, Zambia
Mpumba Rural Health Centre serves 12,000-20,000 people but struggles to afford sufficient staff, facilities, equipment and medications for its patients. Many locals, including pregnant women and victims of road accidents often need to pay to hitchhike to the nearest larger hospital for treatment and shortages of drugs mean that many miss out.
Dorica Kunda, Chairperson of the Safe Motherhood Action Group:
“The centre received 300 kwacha (USD$47) from the government last month but sometimes we can go as far as three months without seeing any funds. This is barely enough to cover the electricity and other basic running costs...
“The facilities here are not adequate and are a violation of our right to health. People need good health services..If companies paid more tax to the government, there would be a very big impact… When I hear about companies who are not paying tax it makes me feel that they must think that human beings are not important. They know that it is necessary for our government to have funds to spend on service provision.
“If people’s health improves, their level of productivity will improve – these companies are denying the people of Zambia their right to development.”
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