27 July 2015 - Christian Aid welcomes Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement in Singapore that the Government will promote greater transparency at home and abroad, with stricter requirements for revealing the beneficial ownership of companies.
Laura Taylor, Head of Advocacy at Christian Aid, said: “Today’s announcement is another step forward in the battle for greater transparency worldwide. Countering corruption is of fundamental importance in the fight against global poverty because of its impact on developing countries.
“Corruption takes money out of the pockets of the poor, and reduces their access to essential public services such as health and education by undermining economic development. It also undermines democracy by encouraging apathy and mistrust which can lead to violent conflict.
“David Cameron is right that all countries need to do more to lift the veil of secrecy. It makes perfect sense that companies that receive large amounts of government funding should be fully open and transparent about their affairs.
“But it will take the full force of the law to cut through the elaborate networks of shell companies and arcane tax practices that companies and individuals sometimes hide behind, particularly off-shore to dodge tax - a major form of corruption.
“Just 18 months ago the Prime Minister instructed the UK’s Overseas Territories to reveal the beneficial owners of companies registered in their jurisdictions. That hasn’t happened. The fulfilment of that promise to tackle all forms of corruption including tax dodging would strike yet another blow at secrecy that would have an impact around the world.
"The UK can be a world leader in this area and set the pace at which others such as the World Bank and G20 need to move too."
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Notes to Editors:
1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 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 ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development.
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5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk