Jeremy Corbyn Takes Aim at Tax Avoidance in Speech at UN

At a UN speech in December, the leader of the UK Labour party called on governments across the world to tackle tax evasion. Calling tax evasion a “global scandal,” Jeremy Corbyn urged world leaders to take urgent action and characterized it as among the four most pressing challenges faced by the world today, along with climate change, the refugee crisis, and what he termed a “bomb first, think later” approach to conflict resolution.

Corbyn focused specifically on tax evasion’s implications for global equality. He pointed out that tax evasion disproportionately affects developing countries, or the global south, depriving their governments of much-needed revenue and further exacerbating global inequality. He alleged that nearly $100 billion is lost by developing countries due to corporate tax evasion, with another $1 trillion sucked out the developing countries due to illicit financial flows.

As the Paradise and Panama Papers have shown, the super-rich and powerful can’t be trusted to regulate themselves. This is a global scandal. The most powerful international corporations must not be allowed to continue to dictate how and for who our world is run,” Corbyn said. “Multinational companies must be required to undertake country-by-country reporting, while countries in the global south need support now to keep hold of the billions being stolen from their people.”

Corbyn specifically indicted the UK Tory government in ongoing global tax evasion.

Corruption isn’t something that happens ‘over there’ – our government has played a central role in enabling the corruption that undermines democracy and violates human rights. It is a global issue that requires a global response,” he said. “When people are kept in poverty while politicians funnel public funds into tax havens, that is corruption.”

In the speech, Corby explained that his Labour party remains committed to being part of the global solution to tax evasion. He revealed plans for a Labour government to work with the tax authorities of developing countries as part of efforts to crack down on tax avoidance.

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