Fighting the corporate parasites

Tax should play a vital role in society in every country, redistributing wealth from corporations and rich individuals, funding vital public services and tackling poverty. Instead we see multinational companies dodge billions of pounds of tax every year, acting as giant corporate parasites on the countries they operate in, sucking profits out and leaving the rest of society paying the price.

War on Want has campaigned for a number of years on the negative impact of tax avoidance by multinational companies on the economies of developing countries. In 2012, with funding from the EU, we began a three-year programme with European trade unions with the aim of tackling tax injustice. The project’s full title is: Global Learning: building awareness of tax justice and the MDGs in sub-Saharan Africa among EU public service workers. The partners in this project are PCS (UK), EPSU (Belgium), ST (Sweden) and CPSU in Ireland.

Within the context of the programme, we have investigated the role of the UK and its tax havens, and how tax avoidance and evasion increases poverty and inequality in the UK as well as the world’s poorer countries. Using the established training and education structures of EU public service trade unions, the project has enabled us to develop their members’ awareness of development issues – and in this specific instance, tax justice. We anticipate a legacy that continues long after the project is over.

We aimed to make the project as accessible as possible, and in the first year of the project we developed an interactive game of ‘snakes and ladders’ which takes the player through a series of entertaining and illustrative examples of how tax policy impacts on developing countries. Since then we have produced reports, policy briefings, action cards and a number of films. Many of our resources are available free to order or download from the website We also met many PCS members and activists on a speaker tour that we ran in 2013/14.

We have been trying to get the message across that:

  • tax dodging by multinational companies and rich individuals increases poverty and inequality whether in the UK or the world’s poorer countries, cutting funding for vital public services and welfare spending. Instead of tax redistributing wealth from rich to poor, the poor are left subsidising the rich.
  • the UK plays a central role in the “offshore” system that allows this enormous injustice to happen. Despite good words, the UK government has done little to stop companies avoiding tax in the UK and has made it easier for UK companies to shift profits out of poorer countries into tax havens.

We will have all of our materials available for you to download on our website, but by the end of the project, you will be able to access all of the materials produced by the partners in the project at www.notaxfraud.eu

 

This webpage has been produced with the assistance of the European Union – DCI-NSAED/2011/247. The contents are the sole responsibility of War on Want and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.

 

 

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