Response to Government announcement on HMRC initiative to help Ethiopia and Tanzania collect taxes

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Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) had announced that it will work with the Tanzanian and Ethiopian governments in capacity building projects aimed at improving the countries’ respective tax administrations.

Ivan Lewis MP, Labour’s Shadow International Development Secretary, in response to David Gauke’s announcement said:

“We strongly support DfID funding being made available to assist developing countries build robust tax collection systems. This is an important part of Labour’s ambition to end extreme poverty and aid dependency by 2030.

“However, if the Queen’s Speech fails to deliver David Cameron’s commitment to enshrine the 0.7% aid target in law then the timing of this announcement will be seen as a cynical attempt to divert attention from his broken promise. This would provide yet more evidence of the Prime Minister’s weak leadership as he vacates the centre ground to appease the right of his party.”

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Catherine McKinnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Exchequer Secretary, who is taking part in the IF campaign debate this evening, added:

“We’ve heard many warm words from the Government about how the Coalition intends to put the issue of tax avoidance at the top of the international agenda, but we’re still to see any real, concrete proposals for the G8 and – with the exception of a relatively small pot of money for capacity building work – the measures to combat tax avoidance in this year’s Finance Bill do nothing to assist poorer countries.

“It is absolutely critical that the issue of tax avoidance in developing countries is discussed and acted upon at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland, and that developing countries must benefit from any reforms agreed from day one.”