Trafalgar Square gets tropical
You can’t have failed to notice that tax — and the lengths people go to avoid paying it — is back in the news in light of the Panama Papers: a leak of 11.5 million documents which revealed the sheer scale of a rotten global system. A system that enables the rich and powerful to take advantage of the secrecy and low levels of tax and regulation offered by tax havens.
The Panama Papers are a timely reminder of the problem that we face. But this is not a problem without a solution. Today, various leaders are in London at the invitation of David Cameron to focus their attention on fighting corruption. Today, Cameron could prove his commitment to that cause by ensuring that UK controlled tax havens publish registers of who really owns and controls companies.
We know that the secrecy offered by these tax havens hurts real people. We know that the UK has already decided it will publish these registers for companies based in the UK. We know that Cameron himself thinks such registers are a good idea. And yet three years after tax was at the top of the agenda at the G8 summit, there has been almost no progress on UK controlled tax havens cracking down on the secrecy that allows tax dodging and corruption to flourish.
That’s why in the last few weeks we’ve been…
..out and about with Filomeno, from our partner Action for Economic Reform, spreading the word about what a difference it would make to the Philippines for the UK to clamp down on tax haven secrecy.
…dressing up in Cameron’s constituency, and delivering your messages to his front door.
And why today, we’ve been in Trafalgar Square making sure the world knows that UK tax havens are at the heart of the system that hurts poor countries.
Mr Cameron has the power to act and he must use it — there are no excuses.