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Alternative tax awards gets accountants talking about poverty

Christian Aid campaigners got hundreds of accountants talking last night (Thursday 21 May) about how their work may harm developing countries.

The campaigners – dressed for the occasion - organised the Alternative Tax Awards ceremony outside the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane, where accountants were holding their own awards night.

As accountants arrived at the hotel, Christian Aid staff asked them what they knew about the impact of tax dodging on developing countries. They got a surprisingly positive response.

‘People seemed open to having a constructive dialogue,’ says the charity’s head of campaigns, Paul Brannen. ‘We hope we made them think about the possible wider impacts of their work – doing a good job for your client has a potential downside for the developing world.’

At the Alternative Tax Awards ceremony, trophies were announced for Tax Haven Enthusiast of the Year (Barclays plc), Low Tax Rate Achievement Award (P&O cruises’ owner Carnival) and Most Surprising Use of Tax Havens (Department for International Development and its company CDC Group plc).

Christian Aid created the Alternative awards to draw attention to the devastating effect of corporate tax dodging on poor countries. The agency calculates that every year, multinational corporations and other companies trading internationally dodge at least $160 billion in taxes in the developing world.

The money is urgently needed to fund hospitals, schools and other public services. Christian Aid estimates that if it were used according to current spending patterns, then the lives of some 350,000 children under five would be saved each year.

The charity is calling for reform of international accounting rules, which would make it harder for multinational companies to dodge their tax obligations.

For the full award citations, please visit: www.christianaid.org.uk/images/alternativetaxawards.pdf

To join Christian Aid’s call for the Big Four accountancy firms to support reform of accounting rules, see: www.christianaid.org.uk/bigfour

Notes to editors

For more pictures, information and to arrange interviews, contact Rachel Baird on 0207 523 2446 or 07545 501 749.

Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in 49 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the life they deserve.