It’s been a busy couple of years for campaigners working to put an end to tax dodging. Check out what – with your support – we’ve been up to below.
If you haven’t got time to soak up the story so far, here’s something you can do in just 10 seconds: send David Cameron an email through our website, asking him to tackle tax havens:
Remember when the outcome of the general election was still a mystery? Early last year 81,000 campaigners like you signed a petition supporting a Tax Dodging Bill; and 15,500 of you got in touch with election candidates in your area to ask them if their party would promise to deliver a Tax Dodging Bill if they won.
1,100 candidates got your messages, listened, and acted too. The Green Party, SDLP, Plaid Cymru, the SNP and the Alliance Party adopted or endorsed the proposals, and Labour and the Lib Dems incorporated major aspects of them into their policies. The ultimate winners, the Conservatives, also promised to take action on tax dodging – and we’ve seen some small steps in the right direction, though there’s still a long way to go.
If companies were open about where they make, spend, and keep their money, we could better hold them to account on the taxes they pay – or don’t pay. This idea is known as country-by-country reporting. In 2013 the EU demanded banks report this way. Now we need to make sure other companies do the same.
In 2015 the European Parliament voted in favour of country-by-country reporting for other kinds of companies. Now we need EU governments to support it too so it can be agreed. France is supporting it. You’ve told George Osborne that he must support it too, and we’re backing up your action with direct lobby towards the government on this issue. Our partners and their supporters in other EU countries are asking their governments to vote for it too. The Netherlands – who’ve just taken over presidency of
the EU council – have said they want to lead the way in increasing transparency to tackle corporate tax avoidance, so we’re feeling hopeful.
It’s not just politicians moving on this issue. Investors, too, are increasingly pushing companies to volunteer this sort of tax information; and our report with Christian Aid and Action Aid calls for the same and sets out what responsible tax behaviour for companies looks like in practice.
The UN has just agreed 17 goals to achieve by 2030: new 15-year resolutions, if you like. One of the “Sustainable Development Goals” they’ve agreed includes tackling economic inequality. They’ve also agreed to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, and the only way they can really hit these goals hard is to make tax fair, so we’ll be pushing to end tax dodging in order to beat inequality and poverty.
The first big opportunity may come in May. David Cameron is inviting other world leaders to a global Anti-Corruption Summit in London, and it’s a great chance to show that the UK is serious about taking on tax dodging, which is closely linked to corruption. We know the government cares about the issue: for example the Department for International Development is investing in helping developing countries improve their tax administrations so they’re better able to collect revenues. And the Prime
Minister put a focus on tax and transparency high on the agenda at the G8 in 2013 – when the UK was presiding.
Tax abuse and corruption often go hand in hand, so we’ll be pressuring the Prime Minister to use the Anti-Corruption Summit to put tax dodging in the spotlight again and make sure we see commitment to real action coming out of it.
Poor countries lose out on a staggering $170 billion of taxes every year because of tax havens – vital revenue that’s desperately needed to pay for public services like healthcare and education. While the super-rich are able to stash their wealth in these top-secret, low-tax hideaways, millions of people living in poverty are denied basic human needs. It’s got to change, and we need you to tell David Cameron so: