From Ms Melanie Ward, Ms Sol Oyuela and others.
Sir, Jeffrey Sachs’ account of tax havens’ devastating effects on the rest of the world is spot on (“Austerity exposes the global threat from tax havens”, April 30). We hope his warning will sharpen minds ahead of the Group of Seven finance ministers’ meeting on May 10 and 11, which is not currently due to discuss tax havens.
Yet the havoc they are wreaking on both rich and poor countries demands urgent, determined action. In developing countries, one person in eight is hungry and some are dying for lack of proper healthcare, agricultural investment and social safety nets. These services need funding from tax revenues, and for those revenues not to be lost through corruption.
As the current president of the G7 and chair of the G8, the UK is in the perfect position to lead the reforms so desperately needed. And Prof Sachs’ prescriptions are right – governments should exchange information about all bank accounts held by foreign citizens, and require disclosure of all companies’ beneficial owners. To have any international credibility the UK must also put an end to the financial wild west in its overseas territories and ensure they sign the existing multilateral convention on information exchange as an immediate first step.
Melanie Ward, Head of Advocacy, ActionAid UK; Sol Oyuela, Interim Head of Advocacy, Christian Aid; Gavin Hayman, Director of Campaigns, Global Witness; Emma Seery, Head of Development Finance, Oxfam GB; and David McNair, Head of Growth, Equity and Livelihoods, Save the Children