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UK should follow Germany's lead and scrap shoddy Swiss tax deal

November 23 2012 - Christian Aid is urging the UK Government to abandon its shoddy tax deal with Switzerland, after the upper house of the German Parliament today struck down its own similar treaty with Switzerland.

‘We’re delighted that the Bundesrat has rejected this damaging treaty.  The UK Government should re-examine its own agreement in light of this and follow suit,’ said Joseph Stead, Christian Aid’s Senior Adviser on Economic Justice.

‘The Prime Minister said only this week that he wanted to see tax justice around the world, yet the UK’s deal with Switzerland will do the very opposite.

‘To collect the taxes they are owed, poor countries need the Swiss to tell their tax authorities who has money in their banks. That will help them catch up with tax evaders, bribe-takers and others with money to hide.

‘But the UK’s dirty deal with Switzerland preserves the alpine tax haven’s financial secrecy, which does so much harm to the UK and the rest of the world.

‘It is also unfair to law-abiding UK taxpayers because the deal allows people who have hidden money in Swiss bank accounts to remain anonymous and unpunished, even though many of them are tax evaders.

‘Christian Aid applauded David Cameron when he said he wants to use the G8 meeting the UK will host next summer to push forward global action on tax and transparency. Scrapping the UK-Swiss tax deal would be a great place to start.’

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If you would like further information please contact Rachel Baird on 0207 523 2446, 07545 501 749 or rbaird@christian-aid.org

Notes to Editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around some 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 125 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