Today I am sharing a hard-hitting film from Oxfam illustrating the human cost of tax avoidance on the world’s poorest.
It’s a topic that’s been seen heavily in the press this week with Jeremy Corbyn attacking Theresa May over her government’s failure to curb tax avoidance and evasion. The Labour leader called out the Conservatives for repeatedly blocking legislation that would combat tax fraud both in the UK and in Europe, and stated that there was now “one rule for the rich and another for the rest of us”.
This powerful video from Oxfam actually reduced me to tears. Particularly the part with the baby in the incubator, as that is something I’ve experienced myself and can relate to. Riley was born 10 weeks prematurely and spent 4 weeks in an incubator. That incubator kept him alive when I couldn’t. When the men in the video pulled the plug on that baby’s lifeline, I felt every bit of that mother’s pain and heartbreak.
And then I felt angry. Angry that companies dodge approximately £78bn in tax in poor countries annually. Angry to hear that just a third of this figure would cover the bill for essential healthcare that could prevent the needless deaths of eight million mothers, babies and children.
Matthew Spencer, Campaigns Director at Oxfam said: “Tax dodgers may not be literally stealing medicines from the pockets of the poorest but they are depriving poor countries of
billions that could be invested in healthcare. It’s wrong that so many of the world’s poorest people are missing out on basic medical treatment that could save their lives and give them a chance of escaping poverty and hardship.”
Governments urgently need to tackle tax secrecy to help put an end to tax dodging. As movement towards an EU tax transparency deal has stalled, Oxfam is calling on the Chancellor to use next month’s Budget to commit to implementing tougher tax laws for UK-based multinationals by the end of 2019.
Greater tax transparency would make it easier to verify whether companies’ tax bills are in line with their real economic activity in every country where they do business – and to hold them accountable.
However, until public reporting requirements are mandatory for all large businesses, widespread tax avoidance will continue to deprive developing countries of funds needed for vital services like hospitals, schools and clean water. It’s the world’s poorest people who suffer the most…together we can do something about it!
Please share this film and then demand that governments act to stop tax avoidance by signing the petition here.