UK Finance Minister George Osborne hosted the Global Investment Conference in London on Thursday, while the “Enough food for everyone if” campaign was reminding everyone he was ignoring the elephant in the room when money was tight – tax evasion.
Especially vexing is this weekend’s meeting of G7 finance ministers here does not even have the subject on its agenda. Outside the Treasury an Osborne-masked actor sat reading the paper oblivious to an elephant-suited campaigner walking up and down in front of him.
“A lot of people here in the UK and around the world are fed up with tax dodging. They are fed up with a system where the rich and powerful play by a different set of rules to everybody else. And it is time for George Osborne to hear that message and to pull the UK tax havens into line,” said EFFEI’s Melanie Ward.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to put the issue of tax dodging high on the agenda at next month’s G8 summit in Northern Ireland.
The “Enough food for everyone if” movement is a coalition of 120 charities, working together for the first time since the “Make Poverty History” campaign eight years ago. They claim poor countries suffer the most from tax havens.
The UK has jurisdiction over 10 tax haven countries, such as the Cayman Islands, which make up a fifth of world’s tax havens.
Last week Britain announced a new information-sharing deal with a handful of tax havens, but this will only benefit the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Poor countries are not party to the agreement.