Archbishop of York in plea over 'tax dodging'

The Archbishop of York The Archbishop of York delivered his sermon in Enniskillen on Sunday

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The Archbishop of York has said that if there was a halt to major companies avoiding taxes, "millions of people could free themselves from hunger".

Dr John Sentamu, was addressing a church service in St Macartin's Cathedral in Enniskillen on Sunday.

The archbishop was speaking ahead of the G8 summit, which will begin in County Fermanagh on Monday.

He said people could stop "tax dodging if our G8 governments step up to close the international tax loopholes".

"Too many unscrupulous businesses and individuals manage to avoid paying the taxes they owe particularly in developing countries," he said.

"They're dodging millions of pounds every day.

"Indirectly robbing the poor of education, health, food, employment and sustainable development."

The archbishop was hosting the church service as part of the IF campaign to end world hunger.

He said transparency and accountability were vital in the global food system and that decisions affecting millions of people "were being made behind closed doors, without the participation of those affected".

"Corporates and governments must be more transparent about their affairs so that citizens can hold to account the powerful players in the food chain," he added.

He said that around the world, "a quiet and momentous change" was happening and that people were saying "enough is enough" to global poverty.

"We are at a tipping point," he added.

"We could be the generation to ensure every boy and girl, man and woman receives justice, mercy and love, to live a dignified human life in company with others."

The Prime Minister David Cameron has said action will be taken at the G8 summit to make "a real difference" to the amount of tax paid by corporations.

On Saturday, Mr Cameron met leaders of Britain's overseas territories and Crown dependencies and secured agreement from them to sign up to an international initiative against tax avoidance and evasion.

The government has also announced plans to require all UK companies by law to register full details of their beneficial owners, including offshore subsidiaries, with Companies House.

The prime minister said every country at the G8 - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the US and UK - would be signing up to an action plan on beneficial ownership.

They would also be discussing ways to better share details between countries about the tax paid by firms in different jurisdictions, he said.

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