Luke Holland ■ The Brexit Tax Haven Walking Tour

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City of London skyline

Tax Justice Network and the Global Alliance for Tax Justice cordially invite you to ‘The Brexit Tax Haven Walking Tour’. The tour will visit key sites in the City of London where three leading experts from the UK and the Global South will explain the imminent threat to developing economies posed by the ‘Singapore on the Thames’ strategy. It will feature perspectives from Dereje Alemayehu (Global Alliance for Tax Justice), John Christensen (Tax Justice Network) and Roosje Saalbrink (Womankind Worldwide).

This timely event takes place ahead of the Fight Inequality Alliance week of action and the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday 21 January. While the 1% meets in Switzerland, with absolutely no mandate, tax justice advocates are calling for world leaders to act now on tax evasion and illicit financial flows before the UK leaves the EU on 31 January.

In the UK as in the Global South, the poor and vulnerable, many of whom are women, pay a much higher price when tax dodging and inequalities are left unchecked.

What price will the developing world pay for Brexit?

While the potential impacts of Brexit for both the UK and other European countries are relentlessly debated, the ramifications for our neighbours in the Global South have thus far been largely ignored. There is serious concern that once it has exited the EU the British government will pursue its facilitation of abusive international tax practices by further deregulating its already over-sized financial sector and pursuing a ‘Singapore-on-the-Thames’ development strategy for the City of London.

Data from Tax Justice Network’s Corporate Tax Haven Index demonstrates that, in combination with its network of Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, the UK represents the largest tax haven in the world, denying countries in the Global South billions of dollars in revenue every year and the resources urgently needed for climate change adaptation, economic and social development, and the fulfillment of basic human rights.  

The City of London lies at the centre of a global system of satellite tax havens and secrecy jurisdictions that function as an integrated network blocking international cooperation for tax transparency and facilitating money laundering and illicit financial flows.

Currently countries in the Global South miss out on one trillion dollars every year in capital flight and tax evasion. In Africa alone, between US$ 30 and 60 billion per year is transferred illicitly which is equivalent to 40 years of the development funding the continent currently receives every year. These figures are likely to rise post-Brexit.

The City of London is, in effect, the engine of a vast global machine promoting regulatory competition and fuelling tax wars, leading in turn to soaring levels of inequality and the immiseration of ordinary people across the globe.

International human rights law requires that the maximum of available resources be dedicated to promoting economic and social rights, including through the provision of gender-equal public services. Underinvestment in these services exacerbates deeply entrenched, structural gender inequalities.

The revenues siphoned away from government treasuries due to abusive tax practices and illicit financial flows prevent governments from meeting their human rights obligations in this regard and contributes to the disproportionate burden of unpaid care work imposed on women in all countries.

Moreover, countries that are unable to raise enough revenue from businesses through corporate income taxes often have to resort to implementing higher taxes on working people through income tax and more regressive forms of taxation such as value added taxes (VAT), or through myriad fees and special charges paid only by local residents. Women living in poverty, who generally have lower incomes than men, are doubly disadvantaged because they lose a disproportionate share of their income to VAT, consumption taxes, and service fees.

The Brexit Tax Haven Walking Tour Event details
A Happy Hour for tax fraudsters
Time: 4.15 PM – 5.30 PM GMT
Date: Fri, 17 January 2020
Meeting point: In front of The Needle Sculpture,
Colechurch House, 1 London Bridge Walk, London SE1 2SX
View Map

Stop 1 – The City of London border
Welcome to journalists, speakers. Introduction.

Stop 2 – Bank of England
Speaker: John Christensen, Tax Justice Network elucidates the Bank’s history in developing the UK’s criminogenic network of overseas territories and crown dependencies, along with recent developments in Brexit negotiations as they pertain to the future of global tax justice.

Stop 3 – Venue to be announced
Speaker: Roosje Saalbrink, Womankind Worldwide, Policy & Advocacy Manager – Economic Rights, Co-coordinator of Global Alliance for Tax Justice’ (GATJ) Tax & Gender working group and Advisory Group member of Gender and Development Network (GADN) breaks down the role of the ‘Square Mile’ in undermining women’s rights and fuelling gender inequalities around the world.

Stop 4 – City of London Corporation
The administrative centre of the UK’s spider web of tax havens and secrecy jurisdictions.
Speaker: Dereje Alemayehu, the veteran Ethiopian activist and Global Alliance for Tax Justice  Executive Director explains the City of London’s role in facilitating abusive tax practices and the disastrous costs it continues to exact on developing countries.

Stop 5 – Venue to be announced
The Brexit Happy Hour for tax fraudsters conclusion
Each of the speakers will take questions from journalists in attendance and further media resources will be available including images, speaker biogs and quotes. There will also be Brexit Happy Hour refreshments.

A compelling protest display, providing a powerful visual component to the event, is planned in the heart of London. While details of this must be kept under wraps until the event itself, photographs and video assets will be available for media use later in the day.

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For further project information contact:
Marie Antonelle Joubert, Global Alliance for Tax Justice
[email protected] +33 760 55 111

Luke Holland, Tax Justice Network
[email protected] + 353 87 100 2118

For further press information and assets, contact
Leanne Mison, Bang On PR
[email protected] + 44 7816 060 45

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

Partners: The event is organized by Global Alliance for Tax Justice, Tax Justice Network, Tax Justice UK, The Equality Trust, Womankind Worldwide and the Women’s Budget Group.

About Global Alliance for Tax Justice
The Global Alliance for Tax Justice (GATJ) is a growing movement of civil society organisations and activists, including trade unions, united in campaigning for greater transparency, democratic oversight and redistribution of wealth in national and global tax systems. GATJ comprise the five regional networks of Africa, Latin America, Asia-Australia, North America and Europe, collectively representing hundreds of organisations: Tax Justice Network-Africa, la Red de Justicia Fiscal de América Latina y el Caribe (RJFLAC), Tax & Fiscal Justice Asia, Tax Justice Europe, the FACT Coalition and Canadians for Tax Fairness.

About Tax Justice Network

The Tax Justice Network (TJN)  is an independent international network launched in 2003. TJN’s core mission is to ‘change the weather’ on a wide range of issues related to tax, tax havens and financial globalisation. TJN pushes for systemic change. A fast, flexible, expert-led, activist think tank, TJN is not politically aligned.

About Womankind Worldwide

Womankind Worldwide is a global women’s rights organisation working in solidarity and equal partnership with women’s rights organisations and movements to transform the lives of women. Based in the UK, Womankind supports women’s movements primarily in Africa and Asia to strengthen and grow by providing a range of tools, including technical support, communications, connectivity and shared learning, joint advocacy and fundraising. Womankind also advocates for governments and international agencies to protect and promote women’s rights through their policy and campaigns work.

About The Equality Trust

A registered charity that works to improve the quality of life in the UK by reducing economic and social inequality.

About Women’s Budget Group
An independent network of leading academic researchers, policy experts and campaigners. A not-for-profit monitoring impact of government policies on women.

Follow Global Alliance for Tax Justice:
www.globaltaxjustice.org
www.facebook.com/globaltaxjustice
twitter.com/ga4tj

Hashtags

#globaltaxjustice
#TaxJustice
#FightInequality
#Brexit

Sources:
Tax & Women’s Rights in the UK :
What does Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal mean for women? report (Women’s Budget Group)
Tax & Women’s Rights globally
Tax Justice Network’s Corporate Tax Haven Index
In Africa alone, US$ 30 and 60 billion per year has flowed from Africa illicitly, which was more than the amount required to cover the continent’s external debt in 2008 and more than the total that has been given to Africa in official development assistance from 1970 – 2008
(2015 Report of the AU/UNECA High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows)

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