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"There is no point in dealing with tax evasion in one country if the problem is simply displaced to another," David Cameron has claimed in a letter to the leaders of the UK's Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories.
Writing to the heads of government in Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Anguilla, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos, Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man, the UK Prime Minister stresses the importance of the fight against "the scourge of tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance."
As part of its presidency of the G8, the UK will hold a summit next month, at which Cameron intends to make the crackdown a priority. His letter urges that, "with one month to go, this is the critical moment to get our own houses in order."
With this in mind, Cameron presses the leaders to work in partnership with the UK in taking the lead on tax information exchange initiatives. Making clear that while he respects the right of states "to be lower tax jurisdictions," Cameron is nonetheless adamant that "lower taxes are only sustainable if what is owed is actually paid – and if the rules to achieve this are set and enforced fairly to create a level playing field across the world."
Referring to recent commitments made to information exchange by the dependencies and territories, and by the European Union, Cameron argues that a "critical mass" is building. He asks governments to commit to joining the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters in the run up to the G8 Summit, and to ensuring that the quality and accuracy of the information provided is improved. Cameron also expresses his hope that leaders will join the UK at a separate event in June, which will "showcase progress on tax, trade and transparency."
Concluding his letter, Cameron states: "This is a real opportunity to set the global standard on transparency – and I am confident the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies will rise to the challenge."
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