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Budget: Historic achievement on aid but missed opportunity on tax dodging

20 March 2013 - Responding to the Chancellor’s Budget today, Christian Aid Director Loretta Minghella said: ‘Today, a 40 year-old promise to the world’s poorest was finally delivered. We congratulate the Government for ensuring that - even in challenging economic times – this country has done the right thing by the hundreds of millions of women and men around the world living in poverty.

‘However, with this Budget, the Government has missed an opportunity to use tax reform to help reduce developing countries’ reliance on aid. The Treasury could have helped poor countries collect more of the tax they are owed, by requiring multinationals to reveal the tax avoidance schemes they are using in the developing world.

‘We estimate that poor nations currently lose $160 billion a year as a result of tax dodging by multinationals – far more than they receive in aid from all rich countries.

‘The Prime Minister’s and Chancellor’s pronouncements on tax dodging have so far been commendable. Now we look forward to the Government leading ambitious global action against tax dodging at the G8 in June. That would show that, building on its aid credentials, the UK continues to do the right thing and the smart thing, for people living in poverty around the world.

‘The public will support the Government in taking such action. Our recent polling on tax found that 85 per cent of those questioned said global leaders should stop multinationals abusing the tax system. A further 63 per cent agreed that strong action on tax avoidance and evasion at the G8 could help lift millions of people out of poverty around the world.

‘Christian Aid is a member of the IF campaign against global hunger and we support its call for the UK to use its G8 presidency this year to initiate international action against tax haven secrecy.’

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Notes to Editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 50 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. We believe that the underlying causes of poverty were made by, and can be ended by, human action. Our strategy for building the power of us all to end poverty is embodied in a new report ‘Partnership for Change’: http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/2012_strategy.pdf

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. Further details at http://actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk