Oxfam has launched a video campaign highlighting how companies dodge approximately £78bn in tax in poor countries annually – and that just a third of that figure is enough to cover the bill for essential healthcare that could prevent the needless deaths of eight million mothers, babies and children.
The charity’s new hard-hitting film – The heist no one is talking about – illustrates the human cost of tax avoidance on the world’s poorest. The film was created by Don’t Panic and produced by Stink Films, MPC and Whitehouse to demonstrate that there is a global heist hitting the poorest the hardest, and it’s about time we get people talking about it.
Joe Wade, MD of Don’t Panic, says: “We aim to re-contextualise complex issues to make them appeal to new audiences, or to audiences that may have lost interest. We feel like this film dramatically achieves this by drawing people in with a heist set-up, before subverting it and delivering a stark message about the impact of tax avoidance. Which is something we’re all very proud to have been a part of on behalf of Oxfam.”
Matthew Spencer, Oxfam’s Campaigns Director, said: “Tax dodgers may not be literally stealing medicines from the pockets of the poorest but they are depriving poor countries of billions that could be invested in healthcare. It’s wrong that so many of the world’s poorest people are missing out on basic medical treatment that could save their lives and give them a chance of escaping poverty and hardship.”
Governments urgently need to tackle tax secrecy to help put an end to tax dodging. As movement towards an EU tax transparency deal has stalled, Oxfam is calling on the Chancellor to use next month’s Budget to commit to implementing tougher tax laws for UK-based multinationals by the end of 2019.
Greater tax transparency would make it easier to verify whether companies’ tax bills are in line with their real economic activity in every country where they do business – and to hold them accountable.
However, until public reporting requirements are mandatory for all large businesses, widespread tax avoidance will continue to deprive governments rich and poor of revenue needed to provide essential services and tackle poverty.