Parliamentarians from around the world committed to take further action in their countries on tax transparency, at the first ever Global Tax Transparency Summit – held in London last week.
Why does this matter for children?
We want every child across the globe to access quality education and healthcare.
That’s why our programmes strive to reach children who are most in need – providing life-saving help and the opportunity to reach their potential.
But our work on the ground is just part of the solution – we also encourage developing country governments to spend more of their domestic income, collected through tax revenue, on public services for the most marginalised children.
Children pay the price for tax avoidance
A recent paper by the International Monetary Fund calculated that developing countries are losing around $200 billion a year to multinational tax avoidance.
This is substantially more than they receive in aid.
So when poor countries are unable to collect the taxes they need, it has a direct impact on the quality and availability of services for children.
Tax havens under UK jurisdiction
Unfortunately these governments face a huge challenge.
All too often, multinational companies hide their tax affairs in tax havens – many of which come under the UK’s jurisdiction.
That is why we strongly welcomed the Global Tax Transparency Summit organised by the UK Parliament’s influential Public Accounts Committee.
Countries must work together
The summit brought together MPs from over 24 countries and jurisdictions to discuss tax transparency, to share their perspectives and to agree next steps for global collaboration.
Throughout the summit, MPs from India, Bangladesh and South Africa told us how difficult it is for them to hold multinational companies to account and to collect their fair share of tax.
The result? MPs from 17 countries signed an open letter urging their governments to take stronger action.
The UK must do more
Yet I heard time and time again – from deeply frustrated MPs – that UK tax havens facilitate corrupt practices in their countries.
Acting alone, they can only do so much.
What is needed is a concerted effort by the UK and it’s jurisdictions to increase transparency.
A good start but more is needed
So where does the UK stand on tax transparency?
In June, the UK created its own public register of beneficial ownership.
This was a big step forward, but without the UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies committing to the same level of transparency, efforts to combat corruption are undermined.
What is Save the Children doing?
Save the Children is currently supporting an amendment to the Criminal Finances Bill to push the government to take a stronger stance on the UK’s Overseas Territories.
Only then will there be the transformational change needed to increase transparency so that developing countries can collect the taxes they need.
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