One of the demands of the Put People First coalition that marched through London today was that countries be required to partake in automatic information exchange on income earned in one state by people resident in another.
This demand was rejected by UK ministers today. They said it would be too difficult for developing countries to manage.
This is patronising, as well as untrue.
Of course these states cannot handle this now – it only really happens in the EU under the Savings Tax Directive at present. So of course systems would need to be developed and improved to handle bigger volumes of data over a wider range of income streams. But the OECD has been working on this for years, and the EU is as well.
So the technology will be available.
In that case once proven between developed countries it could then be transferred to developing countries. In other words there could be a development and implementation programme over a period of time.
That is entirely realistic and possible.
The ministers in question did not want to do it. They lack the political will to deliver real reform.
That’s something quite different.
But they can’t excuse their will to maintain abuse behind a charade of impossibility – when the only thing that seems impossible is that they might challenge the corrupt in this world and demand real change that can transform well-being in developed and developing countries alike.
PS And they can’t argue HMRC could not handle this either – because that’s only true because they have sacked so many HMRC staff – which has simply helped the tax evaders and left the UK with a bigger tax gap.