14 March 2015 - Commenting on a speech given today by Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Christian Aid welcomed the Lib Dems’ search for new ways to stop tax evaders and encouraged them to look beyond the UK when designing their proposals.
“We are especially pleased to see the Lib Dems looking at how to deter those who make a living from helping tax evaders to cheat honest taxpayers. Tax evasion is a crime and such action is long overdue,” said Toby Quantrill, Principal Economic Justice Adviser.
“We urge the party to consider how to make such a new law work for the world’s poorest people, who also suffer grave harm at the hands of tax evaders and their professional advisers. The new offence could easily be made to apply wherever in the world the crime happens, in the same way as the UK Bribery Act already does.”
Mr Quantrill also urged the Liberal Democrats and others to force UK companies to come clean about their finances around the world - which would help expose tax dodgers - and to follow IMF and UN advice for the UK to assess how its tax laws affect other countries’ tax revenues.
Finally, Mr Quantrill stressed that effective action requires comprehensive legislation, in the form of a new Tax Dodging Bill that would tackle the problem in the UK and globally. The campaign for a Bill is urging all political parties to commit to introducing it in Parliament within 100 days of being elected.
Mr Alexander was speaking today at the Liberal Democrats’ spring conference.
For more information, please contact Karen Lobo-Morell on 07850 242950.
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