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Corporate world should echo Jimmy Carr's tax pledge, says Christian Aid

21 June 2012

Christian Aid welcomes comedian Jimmy Carr’s apology for using an aggressive tax avoidance scheme and his pledge to in future conduct his financial affairs ‘much more responsibly’.

Joseph Stead, Christian Aid’s senior economic justice adviser, said corporations using tax haven secrecy to minimise their tax should recognise that public feeling is increasingly turning against such strategies.

‘Jimmy Carr’s apology is welcome, as is his undertaking to avoid such schemes in future. But he is just one man,’ said Mr Stead. 

‘Christian Aid hopes this will encourage others, including corporations, to look more closely at their tax affairs. We have highlighted for some time the need for much greater responsibility. 

‘We estimate that multinationals trading in the developing world deprive developing countries of some US$160bn in lost tax revenues every year by using tax havens to minimise their liability.

‘This is done by manipulating internal corporate trading in a way that poorer countries have neither the expertise nor resources to counter. As a result, they lose out massively on funds that could go towards schools, hospitals and improved food security.

‘Companies using such strategies must understand that there is a growing recognition that while aggressive tax avoidance schemes may be perfectly legal, they are morally reprehensible.

‘The Government has a responsibility to close the loopholes that allows this kind of activity to go unchecked, particularly when it allows corporations in rich countries to have such a damaging impact on peoples’ lives in poorer countries. The need is urgent and must be quickly met.’

In a Twitter post early today Jimmy Carr said: ‘I now realise that I have made a terrible error of judgement’.

His admission followed an attack on aggressive tax avoidance schemes by Prime Minister David Cameron who said they were ‘morally wrong’.

For more information contact Andrew Hogg on 0207 523 2058/07872 350534 or call 24 hour duty phone: 07850242950

Notes to editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, helping people, regardless of faith or nationality, to build the lives they deserve.

2. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. Our report, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to end poverty.  Details at www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/poverty-over-report.pdf  

3Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of 125 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development.  Further details at www.actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: twitter.com/caid_newswire
 
5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit www.christianaid.org.uk

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