Monday, January 16, 2012

UK Labour Party gives ultimatum on tax havens

The Independent says of a speech by the UK Labour Party's leader:
Ed Miliband declares war today on the UK’s secretive offshore tax havens which he says could raise £2.4bn for the Exchequer and help to reduce the deficit.
and the UK's Observer has more:
Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, is to demand that the government forces Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man to reveal the identity of British tax evaders with money hidden on the islands
We have had plenty of beefs with the UK's opposition Labour Party in the past, as we do with the current UK government - but it seems like two things are happening here.

1. The Labour Party is acquiring some backbone.
2. The Labour Party has understood the public mood and captured the spririt of the 99% - if you protest about the corruption of capitalism, you will carry the public with you. And there's nothing like tax havens to corrupt capitalism.

For more in-depth analysis on these welcome development, see TJN Senior Adviser Richard Murphy, who has been influential in this respect. See
  • What Labour has said on tax havens
  • Isle of Man 'not worried' about Labour threat
  • Ed Miliband’s giving an ultimatum to tax havens
  • Ed Miliband says it's time to come clean on UK tax havens
  • (slightly separately) KPMG in the Isle of Man admits the island may be used for egregious tax avoidance
More on this from TJN in due course. But taken at face value, this is a fantastic development.

See also Christian Aid's statement on the UK Labour Party, below.
16 January 2012


Christian Aid welcomes Ed Miliband’s determination to tackle the tax havens which are harming UK public finances but it urges him to go further, because financial secrecy is a curse for poor countries too.

‘It’s great that Mr Miliband has recognised that tax haven secrecy is damaging people in the UK, by providing a cover for people and companies to hide their wealth and avoid paying the taxes that are so urgently needed,’ said Dr David McNair, Christian Aid’s Principal Adviser on Economic Justice.

‘But we hope the Labour leader will also recognise that financial secrecy has devastating effects on public services and people’s lives across the world, especially in poor countries.

‘Christian Aid estimates that tax dodging costs poor countries $160 billion a year, which is much more than they receive in aid. So they, too, need action to shed light on offshore accounts and other wealth which may be liable for tax.

‘This is an international problem and it demands international solutions, starting with a global end to tax haven secrecy.

‘It would be fantastic to see the Labour party join the campaign to End Tax Haven Secrecy, demanding that G20 countries commit to a global deal under which all tax havens have to reveal that information to all tax authorities. Only then will tax dodgers have nowhere to hide.’

In 2011, Christian Aid and its partners delivered a petition to G20 chair Nicolas Sarkozy, which was signed by 40,000 people, and 52 organisations from more than 20 countries.

Dr McNair added: ‘As a first step, we encourage Mr Miliband to doing all he can to reverse the UK’s shameful deal with Switzerland, one of the most globally harmful of all tax havens, which effectively rewards offshore tax evaders and undermines the global call for tax haven transparency.’


To arrange an interview with David McNair or for more information, please contact Rachel Baird on 0207 523 2446, 07545 501 749 or rbaird @


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