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Cameron accused of undermining plans to stop tax evasion

cameron-4107450By Paddy McGuffin Home Affairs Reporter in Belfast, Morning Star

Anti-poverty campaigners hit out at David Cameron at the G8 summit today, accusing him of undermining plans to tackle tax evasion.

War on Want pointed out that many of the world’s major tax havens are British, including overseas territories such as the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and British Virgin Islands, and the Crown Dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.

This weekend Mr Cameron invited senior ministers from the overseas territories to sign a tax information-sharing treaty before the G8 summit which began in Fermanagh today.

But campaigners have criticised the treaty for not requiring tax havens to share information automatically and only forcing jurisdictions to share information they already collect.

1370711668-demonstration-against-g8-hunger-summit-by-david-cameron_2131570The coalition has a less than glowing track record on the issue of tax. It removed Britain’s main anti-tax haven rules in 2012 in a decision set to cost £1 billion a year and developing countries £4bn a year.

In the same year it signed a controversial deal with the Swiss government allowing Swiss banks to keep details of British account-holders secret.

In this year’s Budget Chancellor George Osborne announced new rules which he claimed were intended to clamp down on tax avoidance, but which campaigners say will instead give a green light to companies to avoid billions in tax.

War on Want tax campaigner Murray Worthy said: “It is an outrage that the government continues to allow multinational companies and rich individuals to use Britain’s tax havens to dodge taxes around the world, robbing the world’s poorest countries of vital revenue.

“It has let the UK’s tax havens keep their secrecy intact and made it easier for UK multinationals to use tax havens.”

Meanwhile the Archbishop of York condemned tax avoidance by multinationals and wealthy individuals in a sermon in Enniskillen.

Dr John Sentamu said people could stop “tax dodging if our G8 governments step up to close the international tax loopholes.

“Too many unscrupulous businesses and individuals manage to avoid paying the taxes they owe particularly in developing countries,” he said.

He added that decisions affecting millions of people “were being made behind closed doors, without the participation of those affected.”

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