Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Christian Aid - We're All In This Together

Christian Aid has launched a new report to coincide with the UN Millennium Development Goals summit in New York.

We're All In This Together is published at a time of huge uncertainty. The effects of the systemic financial market failures three years ago are still rippling out to poorer communities, which can expect to carry the burden of austerity packages currently under discussion around the world. In this report, Christian Aid explores what measures are now required to address the scandal of poverty in a world of plenty - and it won't surprise you (at least, we hope it won't surprise you) that tax justice is part of the solution:

Christian Aid's tax reform campaign has caught the attention of a number of governments and multinational corporations. Firmly rooted in our fight against poverty, it reflects our desire to see developing countries move away from aid dependence, raising instead their own money for healthcare, education and welfare.

Self-reliance is a far more sustainable option than aid, particularly bilateral aid, which can fluctuate according to competing demands placed on donor governments by disasters and emergencies elsewhere. In addition, it is often hedged with demands and conditions that may be inappropriate in the country receiving the assistance. A country can benefit considerably when government revenues are largely derived from fair and equitable taxing of citizens and businesses. This allows governments and rulers to have a direct stake in improving the prosperity of some, or most, of the population. Authorities also become more accountable to their citizens, who will want to see evidence that the money raised is well spent. This, together with the creation of a relatively reliable civil service to raise the money, in turn helps counter corruption.

The efforts of developing countries to raise their own revenues, however, are hidebound by the tax dodging antics of unscrupulous businesses and individuals trading internationally. Christian Aid estimates that by concealing the true extent of their taxable profits, often in secrecy jurisdictions (tax havens) offshore, they cost developing countries US$160bn a year in lost revenue.

Read more here.


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