A call from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) to end the siphoning of the profits of big business away from the poor and into off shore tax havens – has been welcomed by Christian Aid.
The campaigning charity has endorsed the CBI’s anti tax-avoidance stance, which sees it at odds with multi national companies which use complex financial structures to minimise the amount of taxation they have to pay.
And the charity says that calling time on tax havens and tax minimisation schemes could save poor countries in the region of $160 bn every year.
Joseph Stead, Christian Aid’s Senior Economic Justice Adviser said: “We’re delighted to see the CBI coming out against tax havens, whose financial secrecy does incalculable damage to people’s lives across the world and especially in developing countries.
“Tax haven secrecy helps criminals across the world to get away with the laundering of the proceeds of their crimes, with corruption and also with tax dodging, which costs poor countries alone some $160 billion a year – far more than they receive in aid.”
The CBI’s anti-tax haven stance was made clear in the organisation’s written evidence to MPs on the House of Commons International Development Committee.
‘We would, once again, also support the end of secrecy jurisdictions,’ it says.
And campaigners have noted that this comes on the back of the CBI’s statement this week that even if tax avoidance is legal, it is still unjustified.
Mr Stead added: “Such is the consensus that tax is crucial for development, that the CBI and development agencies Christian Aid and ActionAid have made a joint submission to MPs, highlighting the importance of supporting developing countries in collecting tax revenue. This is an idea whose time has come.”
The International Development Committee is due to hear evidence from Christian Aid today, as part of an investigation into how poor countries can increase their tax revenue.
Giving oral evidence, Joseph Stead of Christian Aid will tell MPs about unpublished research Christian Aid has conducted about tax in an African country.
The charity has already submitted written evidence highlighting the devastating effects of financial secrecy in developing countries, which is allowing multinational companies to avoid paying taxes.
“The potential for the private sector to drive development is vast, as DFID has recognised, but this can only provide real benefits for those living in poverty if the returns from the private sector are shared,” the charity’s written evidence states.
February 27th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Simon Cross