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Tuesday 20th November 2012 | 16:24
Christian Aid press release:
The Prime Minister's backing for tax justice throughout the world won a delighted welcome today from Christian Aid, which has a longstanding campaign against multinationals' tax dodging.
'We're tremendously excited that the Prime Minister has committed to put issues of tax justice at the centre of the G8's agenda,' said Christian Aid's Director Loretta Minghella. 'These are such key global issues and so important to the lives of people living in poverty across the world.'
She added: 'If companies paid the taxes they owed, it would release many billions every year for schools, hospitals and all the other services which allow people to have decent lives. It will help tackle hunger in the world's poorest places and in the long term, free developing countries from their dependence on aid.
'Tax justice has enormous potential to transform the world for the better, and that is why we're so excited that David Cameron is backing it,' she added.
She was responding to comments made by the Prime Minister in relation to the G8 meeting which the UK will host in June 2013.
Ms Minghella added: 'But let us not underestimate the challenge of overturning the global financial secrecy which underpins the status quo and makes life easier for tax dodgers and others with money to hide.
'It will take tough, determined action by the Prime Minister and G8 members to usher in a new, more transparent era.
'We will be working hard to encourage the UK and other leaders to keep fighting for a better system which supports the many and not just the few.'
Christian Aid estimates that tax dodging by multinationals alone is costing poor countries some $160 billion a year - more than they receive in aid. As has become clear recently, large-scale tax avoidance is also a major problem even for rich countries such as the UK.
The development agency is campaigning for governments to take action to end tax haven secrecy. They can do this through ensuring that accurate records are held of who owns and controls assets and by making sure this and other financial information can be shared between countries, thus making it much more difficult to hide money 'offshore'.