Written by: Keith Tully
Published: 10th May 2016
A group made up of several hundred of the world’s leading economists have called for steps to be taken by relevant authorities and law-makers to effectively end the use of tax havens around the world.
The economists, who include the Nobel Prize-winner Angus Deaton and the best-selling author Thomas Piketty, have written a letter to world leaders urging them to take action to prevent the use of tax havens.
In its letter, the group calls for the UK in particular to take a lead on the issue, which has become an enormously contentious one in recent weeks following the Panama Papers scandal and the leaking of masses of information on exactly who has been sheltering money from tax authorities via the services of a Central American law firm called Mossack Fonseca.
“We need new global agreements on issues such as public country-by-country reporting, including for tax havens,” the economists wrote in their letter.
“Governments must also put their own houses in order by ensuring that all the territories for which they are responsible make publicly available information about the real ‘beneficial’ owners of company and trusts.”
Importantly, the signatories of the letter to world leaders agree that there is “no economic justification” for the continued existence of offshore tax havens of any kind.
Plus, the signatories apparently all agree that the situation as it stands, whereby many billions of dollars are going untaxed on an international basis because of tax havens, unfairly impacts the public finances and potentially the overall economic health of poorer nations around the world.
The charity group Oxfam organised the creation of the letter, which has been published partly in the hope of influencing the thinking of prominent and powerful politicians gathering in London for an upcoming international anti-corruption summit.
Government officials from around the world are set to attend the summit, which starts on Thursday May 12th, with UK prime minister David Cameron promising to put the issue of tackling global corruption at the “top of the international agenda”.
“It destroys jobs and holds back economic growth, traps the poorest in desperate poverty, and undermines our security by pushing people towards extremist groups,” the prime minister said in a recent statement.