Last night we were treated to the talk on Tax Havens entitled 'The Rise and Rise of Britain's Tax Justice Empire'. It was by John Christensen from the Tax Justice Network who kindly agreed to be filmed - so myself and a colleague will be putting something together over the next weeks that will hopefully be available on Youtube. It was an inspiring talk.
Photos: from the evening
To get a flavour of some of the issues it is worth reading 'The truth about tax havens' - see here a first extract from the book, 'Treasure Islands' by Nicholas Shaxton working closely with John Christensen - and second extract here.
Here is an extract with a point I made in my letter that was printed in the SNJ this week: "The offshore world is all around us. More than half of world trade passes, at least on paper, through tax havens. More than half of all banking assets and a third of foreign direct investment by multinational corporations are routed offshore. An impression has been created in sections of the world's media, since a series of stirring denunciations of tax havens by world leaders in 2008 and 2009, that the offshore system has been dismantled, or at least tamed. In fact quite the opposite has happened. The offshore system is in very rude health — and growing fast."
There was a huge amount covered and I wont go into it now as the films will be up soon but one campaign that got a mention was Action Aid's around Grolsch’s owner, SABMiller, - they are apparently dodging taxes around the world.
Action Aid write: "The money that African countries lose each year could put an extra 250,000 children in school." See here where you can also send an email to the chief exec.
I am sure even those companies like Boots and Vodaphone know that tax avoidance is wrong? The protests have even made it into Accountancy Age - see here. The government insists that drastic public spending cuts and a hike to VAT are essential. They also claim that we’re all in this together. But both the cuts and the VAT increase will hit the poor and most vulnerable hardest, whilst the richest in our society dodge tax with virtual impunity.