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Is the government finally listening to Christian Aid?

By Alasdair Roxburgh, churches campaigns manager | 
6 December 2012

A woman working in a field with a baby on her back

Greater tax transparency would help developing countries to receive much-needed revenues to lift their citizens out of poverty

Christian Aid's campaign actions do not always generate a concrete and immediate response from government. Your recent emails to business ministers Vince Cable and Jo Swinson have managed to do just that.

Jo Swinson has publicly acknowledged that your campaign actions have helped her decide what European legislation is needed to make oil, gas and mining companies more transparent.

'For far too long, the world’s poorest people have struggled to benefit from the vast natural resources in their countries,' she notes.

Push for new laws

She says the government will push for EU transparency laws that match recent laws passed in the US. This is what Christian Aid has been calling for as a bare minimum.

If companies have to report their payments to governments on a project-by-project basis (as with the US legislation), developing countries will be able to detect tax dodging more easily.

Jo Swinson also states that the government wants to see an early review into the extension of these new laws to other industries. Again, Christian Aid has been pushing for such an extension.

Maintaining pressure on government

You called on the government to persuade other EU member states to back tougher laws, too. In response, Jo Swinson says that the government will play 'an active role in taking forward European discussions'.

This follows David Cameron’s announcement that both tax avoidance and transparency will be priority issues for action at next year’s G8 summit, which he will chair. So, yes, it seems like the government is finally listening.

However, we need to keep up the pressure to ensure the UK not only stands by its current position but pushes for even tougher laws.

And we need David Cameron to keep to his word at the G8. Otherwise the profits reaped by less scrupulous multinational companies in developing countries will continue to bypass the poor.

Read Jo Swinson’s full statement in response to our campaign actions.

This marks the end of a great year campaigning. 2013 is set to be even better.

We are uniting with other international development charities to speak with one voice, to tell our leaders that enough is enough and that strong action must be taken to address the structural causes of poverty and hunger.

 About the author

Alasdair Roxburgh

Alasdair Roxburgh is our churches campaigns manager

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