It’s time to tackle the ‘Tax Haven Capital of the World’
This week phone boxes across London will be looking a little different. What may look like tourist posters are in fact a message from citizens around the world about the real causes of global poverty and what we can do to make a real difference. It’s time to take another look at that urban island paradise and get to know it better: “Visit the City of London – The Tax Haven Capital of the World”.
Every year multinational corporations and corrupt politicians siphon off around $1.26 trillion of the world’s wealth, using elaborate schemes to transfer profits to countries with little or no tax. The majority of this wealth is stolen from some of the world’s poorest countries. This means they lose at least $100 billion every year in tax revenues; money that should be paying for essential services like schools, hospitals and roads. The City of London, a square mile within London itself, is the most important global hub of the tax haven system, through which billions in untaxed profits flow every day.
How does the City of London get away with this?
It’s complicated, but here’s part of the answer: the local council has a private fund worth about $2 billion, which is used to influence politicians here and abroad. It’s impossible for us to know where the $2 billion comes from and what it’s spent on, as key parts of the City of London Corporation are exempt from Freedom of Information laws.
Cameron has some high profile international seats of power right now, including being Chair of the G8. So it’s pretty embarrassing to him that he’s pledging to tackle tax avoidance by corporations in developing countries and the UK, while at the same time keeping the City of London’s secrets.
That’s why we need to spread public outcry among UK citizens, to whom he’s ultimately accountable. People around the world are already making the calls, but they need our voices behind them to show that this is a global problem and that the world is watching.
How can you get involved?
- In London? – Join us in the City of London on March 16th for our day of action to expose the hidden London and call on David Cameron to clean up his own backyard. We’ll have international guest speakers, music and much more. Be at the Royal Exchange at 2pm, just by Bank tube. Online RSVP: https://www.therules.org/en/actions/london-tax-haven; facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/150406711789167/
- Around the world? – We’re coming together from around the world to sign an open statement, which will be published in a major UK newspaper: Add your name to the open statement before it’s published. If you don’t have internet access, dial this phone number (+44 (20) 332-22485 / 020 3322 2485 in UK) and place a missed call – you’ll have registered your support without it costing you a penny.
We’re on our way to striking at the heart of the financial corruption that causes poverty and inequality worldwide. Let’s use our collective voice to make sure we’re changing the rules that allow this system to exist. Please forward this email on to people to help us make this massive. More information at http://londontaxhaven.org; follow the hashtag #hiddenlondon on twitter for latest developments.
The Rules team
$1.26 trillion of the world’s wealth – see Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2000-2009, Global Financial Integrity. January 2011.|