LOOPHOLES that permit aggressive tax-avoidance schemes are
depriving developing countries of about $160 billion (£102 billion)
every year, a charity has said.
Christian Aid has called for the urgent closure of such "morally
reprehensible" tax loopholes, in the wake of the comedian Jimmy
Carr's apology, this week, for using a tax-avoidance scheme.
Mr Carr reportedly used a legal scheme, based in Jersey, which
allowed him to pay income tax as low as one per cent on his
He was criticised by David Cameron, who described the scheme as
"morally wrong". Mr Carr later apologised and said that he had made
a "terrible error of judgement". He pledged to conduct his
financial affairs more responsibly in future.
Christian Aid has called on corporations to echo this pledge.
It estimates that multinationals trading in the developing world
deprive developing countries of $160 billion in lost tax revenues
every year by using tax havens to minimise their liability.
Christian Aid's senior economic-justice adviser, Joseph Stead,
said that corporations using tax-haven secrecy to minimise their
tax should recognise that public feeling is increasingly turning
against such strategies.
"The Government has a responsibility to close the loopholes that
allow this kind of activity to go unchecked, particularly when it
allows corporations in rich countries to have such a damaging
impact on people's lives in poorer countries. The need is urgent
and must be quickly met."
The charity, together with Church Action on Poverty (CAP), and
the General Secretaries of the Methodist Church, the United
Reformed Church, and the Baptist Union of Great Britain, sent a
letter to The Times, in which they criticised tax
avoidance as an injustice that kept some people poor while others
Christian Aid and CAP will launch a seven-week "tax-justice" bus
tour this autumn, with the message that tax-avoidance costs lives,
as it deprives the education, health, and welfare services of
The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Justin Welby, called on the
Government this week to act to stop the growing inequality between
the wages of workers and executives. A failure to act "would prove
dangerous to social cohesion", he told the House of Lords.