Tax havens: IF campaigners bring up the elephant in the room

9 May 2013

Elephants for the IF campaign

The elephants in the room...a stunt for the IF campaign

The damaging impact tax havens have on poor countries has been thrown into sharp relief by IF campaigners.

Earlier today, campaigners erected a pop-up boardroom containing a large inflatable elephant outside HM Treasury. It bore the words ‘UK Tax Havens’ - a message to the Chancellor George Osborne to address the effect of tax havens on the world’s poorest people when G7 Finance Ministers meet tomorrow.

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One in five of the world’s havens are under UK jurisdiction, including the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

According to calculations carried out by the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign, assets held in the Cayman Islands add up to an incredible $29.3 million for each of the 56,000 people on the island. This compares to the $91 dollars in assets for every citizen in Nicaragua, a country just 600 kilometres away.

Meanwhile, assets in Bermuda amount to $1.42m for each of its 65,000 residents, while nearby Haiti has just $18 per person.

Sol Oyuela, IF campaign spokesperson, said: “These figures expose the global system of tax havens as a sick joke. Who in their right mind would claim the Cayman Islander should be worth 320,000 times more than a Nicaraguan?

“It can’t be right that UK tax havens are sitting on trillions of dollars, while their neighbours are struggling to ensure their people have enough to eat. The money that UK-linked tax havens suck out of the poorest economies will be the elephant in the room when finance ministers meet.”

The IF campaign is calling on Chancellor George Osborne to lead the way by implementing a 90-day plan to clamp down on the UK’s tax havens - a move that would start to make good on David Cameron’s pledge to protect poor countries from tax dodgers.

As part of the IF campaign, we’re urging the G8 to change the rules and prevent companies dodging the tax they owe to poor countries – money that could be used to feed millions of the 1 in 8 people in the world who will go hungry tonight.

The UK last week announced a new information sharing deal with a handful of tax havens but this will benefit only the UK, France and Germany, Italy and Spain – poor countries were not party to the agreement.

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