MPs demand tax haven crack down

The government is being urged by MPS to crack down on offshore tax havens and
corruption to ensure poor countries gain the maximum benefit from their own

The plea comes from the House of Commons committee on international
development and is in its latest report warning that the third world must not be
see their aid programmes reduced as a result of mistakes made causing the
economic crisis.

The report said developing countries loose billions of dollars a year to tax
evasion by international companies as they seek to raise revenue.

It said havens facilitate the process by providing companies with anonymity
through bank secrecy and failing to co-operate on tax matters with authorities
from the country in which the funds originated. Estimates of revenue losses
range from $120bn to $160 bn.

The committee chairman, Lib Dem MP Malcolm Brice, said British overseas
territories had dragged their feet for years despite signing up to international

He said the UK government ‘has a responsibility to make amends for past
failures to act’ by taking steps as a matter of urgency to ensure that they
cease to be tax havens.

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