June 21 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Cautious hope after G8 tax announcement

Archbishop Tartaglia of Glasgow petitioned leaders after SCIAF took IF to Belfast

The leaders of the G8 major economies have said they will pursue new measures to clamp down on tax evaders, an announcement that has been greeted with cautious optimism by the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) and other campaigning groups.

The announcement comes after the president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland echoed the calls of SCIAF and Justice and Peace campaigners who joined 10,000 people for an anti-hunger rally in Belfast last Saturday to demand the G8 leaders meeting in Northern Ireland ended corporate tax dodging and land grabs in developing countries.

The two-day G8 summit was hosted by the UK and its closing communique urged countries to ‘fight the scourge of tax evasion’ and said government had agreed to give each other automatic access to information on their residents’ tax affairs. The G8 leaders also call for shell companies—often used to exploit tax loopholes and invest money anonymously—to identify their effective owners. The measures are designed to combat illegal evasion of taxes, as well as legal tax avoidance by large corporations that make use of loopholes and tax havens.

Philippa Bonella, SCIAF’s head of communications and education, said this was a welcome development but more information was required.

“Whilst the commitment to share greater information is a move in the right direction, we now urgently need more detail on how this will be taken forward. It is only then that we can have confidence that these commitments will be honoured,” she said.

An end to corporate tax evasion was one of the key focuses of the Enough Food for Everyone IF… campaign to end world hunger, of which SCIAF was part. The charity took a 200-strong band of Scots campaigners to the day of action in the Northern Irish capital last Saturday to highlight the issue of global hunger, which sees 870 million people go without food every day.

Last weekend, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow joined with other Scottish Christian leaders, including the Right Rev Lorna Hood, Moderator of the Church of Scotland, to raise the same issues in an open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron.

“The G8 can make a huge contribution to global efforts to end these scandals by working in partnership with others to increase investment and improve the transparency, accountability and governance of key aspects of the food system,” the letter states.

The church leaders say they are proud so many of their members had gone to Belfast to protest.

Carol Clarke of Justice and Peace Scotland said she really hoped the world leaders would act this time.


— ian@sconews.co.uk

—     This story ran in full in the June 21 print edition of the SCO



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