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HMRC report highlights need for transparency - at home and abroad

By Alasdair Roxburgh | 20 December 2011

The past 18 months have been painful for public services here in the UK. Deep cuts in budgets have left services stretched to the limit and thousands of public sector jobs vulnerable.

The reasons for the cuts are numerous, but one key factor is that the government is not raising enough revenue from taxes and could be raising more. 

So it's understandable that people have been so angered by a report from MPs criticising HMRC for its ‘cosy’ relationship with some big companies.

The report, released today, suggests that the treasury is at risk of losing billions through some UK companies dodging tax. Estimates put that figure at £25bn.

It's something tax campaigning groups like UK Uncut have been saying for the last 12 months.

But it also echoes what Christian Aid has been saying for years about what is a global tax scandal. This problem is not unique to the UK.

As we first reported in 2008, many poor countries face similar challenges with some companies dodging the taxes they owe which we estimate costs the developing world $160bn.

For many tax authorities in poor countries this happens not because of cosy deals with companies – it’s about a lack of transparency which companies exploit.

Some unscrupulous companies use the secrecy that surrounds their financial activates to shift profits out of poor countries. This denies developing nations of essential tax revenue they could be spent on vital public services like hospitals and schools.

So the problems faced by rich and poor nations are not dissimilar – companies are dodging tax, but what is the solution?

At Christian Aid we believe that greater transparency in companies financial affairs would help tackle tax dodging. That is why we have been calling on companies and the government to tackle tax dodging and improve transparency.


Take action!

Act now!Urge Vodafone, Unilever and TUI Travel to back our campaign for greater financial transparency.

 About the author

Alasdair Roxburgh

Alasdair Roxburgh is our churches campaigns manager

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