13 April 2015 - In the week of manifesto launches, the tax reforms pledged by the Labour Party today are urgently needed against the scandal of multinational tax trickery, Christian Aid says today.
“We are extremely heartened to see Labour’s commitment to the sort of reforms that will roll back some of the deeply immoral tax dodges exploited by many companies,’ said Christine Allen, Christian’s Aid Director of Policy and Public Affairs.
“The manifesto includes some of the most vital tax fairness reforms, for which we have campaigned for years. We especially welcome the pledge to draft an ‘Anti-Tax Avoidance Bill’ on day one of a Labour Government. This sounds a lot like the Tax Dodging Bill for which we and many others are campaigning.
“However, we would like to see stronger action in relation to developing countries, which lose more to tax dodging by multinationals than they receive in aid.”
Commenting on the manifesto pledges regarding climate change, Ms Allen added: “With over 200 countries meeting in Paris later this year to agree a global climate deal, Labour is right to put climate change at the heart of its foreign policy. The deal in Paris has to offer hope to the poorest people in the world, who are hit first and hardest by climate disruption.
“The UK can only have credibility abroad if it cuts emissions at home, so whoever leads the next Government will need to speed up the shift to a low carbon Britain. Labour’s proposed low carbon target for the power sector would get Britain back on track but the manifesto neglects to mention the urgent need to phase out unabated coal, something Ed Miliband pledged to do just 6 weeks ago.”
Commenting the 10-point tax plan announced by Labour, Ms Allen said some of the specific pledges were very welcome.
“All political parties are agreed on the importance of dealing with tax dodgers and so we very much hope to see other manifestos including similar action.
“Ending tax abuses should not be a party-political matter. It is a clear injustice when the rich and powerful fail to contribute their fair share towards the common good and ordinary people suffer as a result.
“We are especially pleased to see the commitment to force the UK’s tax havens to finally reveal the real owners of the hundreds of thousands of shell companies that they host,” she added..
“The UK created the problem of its tax havens and so it is the UK’s responsibility to make them clean up their finance industries, once and for all.”
Christian Aid is also happy to see the pledge to require multinationals to reveal their activities on a country-by-country basis.
The commitment to extending the sharing of tax-related information with developing countries is also helpful, although it is unclear exactly what it would mean in practice.
Christian Aid would also like to see greater clarity about how the UK can take a leadership role in relation to other reforms of massive importance to developing countries – notably a spillover analysis of how UK tax laws affect them and a review of the controversial Controlled Foreign Companies rules.
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Notes to editors:
1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 50 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.
2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.
3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. Further details at http://actalliance.org
4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire
5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk