• Loading

FTSEcrecy

For the best part of five years, we've been campaigning to tackle tax dodging, so that developing countries can get their fair share of tax.

With your support, we've been trying to make the global tax system more transparent.

People holding placards protesting against tax dodging, standing next to Russian dolls

We’ve just released a new report, FTSEcrecy: the Culture of Concealment throughout the FTSE - and the findings are staggering. 

There is still a dearth of accessible information on the FTSE 100 when it comes to their use of subsidiaries in tax havens. 

The picture remains very foggy, but one thing is for sure – all jurisdictions, the international community, the UK government and companies need to take action!

What’s the problem?

  • Developing countries lose to tax havens almost three times what they receive from developed countries in aid.

  • Financial secrecy at both country and corporate level facilitates tax dodging, which is a serious obstacle to raising money to pay for essential services like schools and hospitals.

  • The lack of corporate transparency is prevalent among multinational companies, which use complex networks to take advantage of the secrecy offered off-shore to reduce their tax payments.

  • The OECD has recently acknowledged that multinational companies can easily shift their profits to low-tax secrecy jurisdictions – or tax havens.

FTSE Fog!

The findings show that secrecy is not the exception but the norm, even among the biggest companies listed on the London Stock Exchange.

This might not sound relevant to daily life, but these companies are household names in which millions of people invest through their pension funds and savings.

The secrecy around their dealings is so deep and widespread that it’s like a blindfold for everyone who deals with them.

And that’s bad news for us all, because it means that rich and poor countries alike may be missing out on tax revenue needed to fund vital public services.

Without greater levels of transparency, governments in countries where FTSE 100 companies operate will not be able to obtain the information they need to establish whether companies are complying with legislation such as corporate tax.

Less talk, more action

Despite growing recognition of the problem all over the world - including the G8 and the European Union - the political will to foster real change remains weak.

New EU legislation creates a first step towards country-by-country reporting, which is great news.

This will start to tackle the transparency of payments to governments by extractive and banking companies – two of the most secretive sectors.

Efforts to extend the same requirements to other sectors have faced strong resistance from some member states, including the UK.

Transparency alone cannot ensure good company behaviour, but it is a great disinfectant that starts to enable us to hold companies and governments to account.

We have come a long way, but there is still a lot to do. Our new report offers us an opportunity to show that freely available information is crucially important.

Find out more about our tax campaign and take action for financial transparency.

Follow us on Facebook and TwitterLike Christian Aid on FacebookFollow us on Twitter

 Browse our blog