If you haven’t had chance to read the numerous communications from the G8 summit at Lough Erne this week, then for starters, have a look at the Tax declaration (with a little hint towards land grabbing … declaration 7, just in case you miss it). Have you read it? Now re-read but this time replace every ‘should’ with ‘will’ and you will (no pun intended) get a feel for what we were hoping to hear!
What others are saying …
ENOUGH FOOD FOR EVERYONE IF
The public argument for a crackdown on tax dodging has been won, but the political battle remains. Future G8s and G20s must urgently finish the job. Sally Copley (article)
The G8 has asked all the right questions but has been thin on answers…(it’s)woken up and smelled the coffee but has failed to agree a tax deal that helps the poorest countries. Until this happens lives are on the line. This year has been a warning to tax dodgers that their days of ripping off rich and poor countries alike are numbered. But tax dodging is a dark stain that needs more than a quick wash, and the G8 must agree a plan to get the global tax system whiter than white this year. (article)
Transparency and access to information for the people CAFOD works for in the poorest countries will mean they have the chance to ensure companies and governments can be held to account, increasing pressure for money flows to deliver for the poorest communities and to support changes in the global food system that at present keeps 1 in 8 people hungry. (article)
TAX RESEARCH UK
So there are no positive commitments to do anything. That’s incredibly weak.
UK OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE
We were promised a bang, but this is a whimper. It is simply a wish list.
The conspicuous lack of detail and glaring omissions in the G8 communique on Tax justice is disappointing, but lets take heart that the issues of tax evasion and avoidance are now established in the public domain and recognised as part of the solution to eradicating hunger and poverty.
What next: VinB will be stepping up the campaign, canvassing supporters, publicising the injustices, reporting on progress and supporting the development agencies in keeping pressure on the G8 leaders to make progress on their promises.
An estimated $8.5 trillion sits in offshore accounts, none of which draws tax revenue back to the source of the wealth.
Reaching International agreements to bring an end to this state of affairs is incredibly ambitious. Despite the challenge, the current economic climate and the G8’s declining influence on the world stage, I am optimistic that the G8 can make a start on delivering corporate tax reform.
Green shoots of which we have already seen as David Cameron, despite the cynicism regarding his motives, has increased his credibility and proven his determination to make meaningful reforms, starting with home improvements .
First on the list the British Overseas Territories, many of which (like London) have functioned as tax havens. In fact one in five of the global tax havens come under UK responsibility. At Downing Street on Saturday they reached agreements on how to share revenue reporting and track company ownership behind the brass nameplates. Many other tax havens are within the jurisdiction of G8 countries.
The G8 Summit not least has acted as a focus for campaign groups, has kept the need for corporate tax reform in the mainstream news and raised public awarenessof tax injustice in developing countries.
Developing countries would lose $1.4bn in illicit flows during the two days of the summit – enough to provide farmers in Indonesia to feed themselves and their families for a year.
If the G8 countries go further and give developing countries access to corporate information a real impact on eradicating one of the causes of hunger and poverty could be achieved and the G8 would show that it is not dead yet.
During the two days that the G8 meet in Northern Ireland, $2.2 billion dollars in illicit flows will have haemorrhaged from developing countries into tax havens and developing-country land one and a half times the size of Manhattan will be sold off to foreign investors.
I’ve seen the devastation that hunger causes to communities in my position as an Oxfam Ambassador. That’s why we have started a petition on Change.org calling on David Cameron to take action on tax at this month’s G8 and ensure large companies don’t make the poorest suffer. Bill Nighy
As the World holds it’s breath waiting for news on Nelson Mandela we thought you might like to listen to the speech that he gave in London calling for us to be ‘the generation‘ that breaks the binding chains of poverty.
Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom!
I have just enjoyed this upbeat video from the children of the Living and Learning project. All thanks to Tom, UK volunteer and musician, who lives in the local favela and spends time with the children.
Of course, you don’t have to be a musician to be a volunteer! You just have to feel that you want to get involved in sharing your abilities and time with others.
Meet Oziel Gabriel. A member of the Terena tribe who was protesting over land grabs in Sidrolandia, part of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sulclashes, when he was shot dead by police according to fellow tribesmen who took pictures and video of the incident and then immediately posted them on Facebook.
According to Joao Fellet, of BBC Brazil, it took only hours to make headlines abroad, which prompted an unusually speedy response from the Brazilian Justice Minister who called for an immediate investigation. Students from the tribes are increasingly adopting the power of social media to raise awareness of their plight within Brazil. When the national media fails indigenous groups maybe harnessing the power of ‘virtual activism’ will have a greater impact!