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Tax haven secrecy: all eyes on the G20

By Helen Collinson | 3 November 2011

As G20 leaders gather for their summit in Cannes this week, they should bear in mind that the Eurozone crisis is not the only thing people are bothered about.

Anger is rising around the globe at the way tax havens are helping swindle money from developed and developing countries alike.

Sarkozy, Cameron and CleggAs part of the End Tax Haven Secrecy coalition, Christian Aid has been calling on campaigners to urge G20 leaders, including the UK's David Cameron and Nick Clegg and France's Nicolas Sarkozy, to get tough on tax havens.

And yesterday the coalition's action passed the 40,000-signature mark.

This is a fantastic amount, and represents the voices of people in more than 20 countries.

As luck would have it, we reached this milestone on the very day that French NGOs met with President Sarkozy at the Élysée Palace and presented him with a letter from the End Tax Haven Secrecy campaign.

And this followed our own Alasdair Roxburgh taking the Eurostar down to Paris to drop off thousands of postcards from Christian Aid supporters for the attention of the French president.

G20: over to you...

Sarkozy has acknowledged the importance of this issue, which is good news – but let’s see if his words are translated into action in the G20 communiqué later this week.

Over this coming weekend, Christian Aid’s tax experts will be poring over the text of the communiqué issued at the end of the summit to identify whether G20 leaders have made any progress in tackling global tax secrecy.

Naturally, you will be the first to hear what we think. 

What is certain is that we’re in this for the long haul. In fact, we’re already thinking hard about how to up the ante on this whole issue at the next G20 summit in Mexico in 2012, and in the EU and elsewhere.

The amount the world’s poor are losing from large-scale tax dodging – $160 billion a year by Christian Aid’s estimates – means the campaign must go on, however long it takes.

Meanwhile, you can still demand tax justice

Act now! We've been urging some of the UK's biggest firms, Unilever, Vodafone and TUI Travel, to back our calls for greater financial transparency. Add your voice - and help shape the next stage of our campaign. 

 About the author

Helen Collinson

Helen Collinson is Christian Aid's senior public advocacy adviser


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