All around the world, millions of children are being left behind by global progress because of where they live or who they are. They’re being forgotten because of their gender, race, or disability. For too long, corrupt practices have deprived these children of the healthcare and education they need to survive and thrive.
All countries need to work hard to respond to this problem – so they can invest in the public services that level the playing field and ensure every child has access to healthcare and learning. But one major barrier standing in the way of progress is the fact that the world’s poorest countries are not getting the tax receipts that they need.
It’s a huge, global problem. The amount of tax a government collects is a large chunk of the money it has to spend on essential services like healthcare and education. If there’s not enough money coming in then these services simply don’t exist and people are forced to survive without them.
Billions being hidden
Multinational corporations’ use of tax avoidance schemes and tax havens is a key factor in small tax receipts. These complicated schemes are used to hide profits and disguise who owns what – so that companies and individuals can avoid paying taxes in poor countries that could be spent on creating the infrastructure that could save and change the lives of millions of children.
But there’s a glimmer of hope. The UK’s relationship to the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories means the Prime Minister is in special position to tackle this problem. These jurisdictions are used to hide billions of pounds of tax every year – but the UK government can require them to set up public registries, so the world can see who really owns and benefits from a company’s profits.
David Cameron called for a global crackdown on offshore tax havens in 2013, and in a few days’ time he has a chance to take decisive action. On 12 May he will hold an Anti-Corruption Summit, the first of its kind. With the world watching, the UK could be the country that ends the secrecy that tax havens rely on.
We must make David Cameron do something about this scandal – so that every child gets to go to school and gets the medical care they need. Sign our petition calling on the Prime Minister to act today.