What will G8 do about Syria and taxes?

Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin, David Cameron and Barack Obama attend working session of the G8 summit

The G8 is likely to reach agreement on Syria today, Downing Street believes, although the exact wording of any statement is still the subject of tense negotiations.

The issue which is causing most difficulties is what the G8 should say about the transition to a new Syrian government after any new round of peace negotiations.

President Putin has already signed up to the idea of what are known as the Geneva Two talks but is thought to be resisting wording which suggests that it is inevitable that Syria's President Assad will be replaced.

While the G8 leaders focus on tax this morning, their "sherpas" - summit jargon for officials - are hammering out possible wording of a statement on Syria. The areas on which the G8 seems likely to agree are :

  • Increased humanitarian aid and international agreement to facilitate access for organisations like the Red Cross
  • Combating jihadists within the Syrian rebel movement
  • Opposition to the use of chemical weapons (albeit that Russia does not accept that there is clear evidence that the regime has used them)

On the issue of tax transparency, Downing Street predicts that, while there will be agreement to produce registers of who really owns companies (so-called "beneficial ownership"), not all G8 countries will agree to publish such information - a key demand of aid organisations.

Chancellor George Osborne told BBC Radio 4 this morning that the UK government was consulting on whether to do this anyway. He claimed that more progress had been made in the past 24 hours than in the past 24 years.

Although many tax campaigners will complain that the expected G8 deal does not go far enough, most concede that the discussions here mark a turning point in the campaign to expose tax criminality and to pressurise global corporations to pay more tax in the countries where they make their profits.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 43.


    When an aide asked Brown what he did on holiday he replied I finished a book meaning he`d written one.

    Cameron lacks a capacity for hard grind and detailed preliminary work which enabled Brown to get the G8 to agree to a combined fiscal stimulus in 2009.

    Cameron is all style and no substance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    #41. covo

    There is reality and then there is sycophancy.

    Presumably you like some of the trappings of modern day living?
    Well like it or not I doubt if ARM, the designers of most of today's hi tech microprocessors, would exist if it wasn't for the BBC kick starting their predecessors by commissioning the BBC micro.

    Tax payers money. Like all sorts of seed capital.

    You want us backward? Dumb...

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    got the ledger in an iron lung 26.

    I wish the BBC wouldn't behave as the if the opposition isn't in opposition and I wish they would also relinquish the license fee which is becoming more and more controversial.

    As for leaders being called leaders, the correct address for David Cameron is Prime Minster, channel 4 calls him that all the time but the left and the Unions won't allow the BBC..

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    Moan, moan, moan, doesn't it get very tiring to be so negative so much of the time.

    There are 8 world leaders having a conference and trying to do something to make the world better while the armchair critics sit there with their nightcaps bitching and moaning. There are those who do and
    those who oppose, that's life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    Oh come on now. We all know that the politicians will talk about taxing multinationals.

    But nothing will happen. We are still in an all out race to the bottom.

    What will actually happen is we will lose our standards of living. And our savings.

    It is what politicians do.

    And Syria - interesting one that. Israel on the one hand and Russian oil supplies on the other.

    Obama expected to choose????

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    snuff 35

    Never too late to do what's right. One of my grandads gave up cigarettes when he was 82. Started smoking a pipe instead and he never looked back.

    SP 36

    Yes, he's going to make it to 2015. Wouldn't shock me if he won either (although my bet remains Lab/Lib coalition).

    bryhers 37

    Sense he's modelling himself on TB. Difference being that he's ineffectual - maybe just as well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    Syria: I don`t understand Cameron`s position unless it`s to underscore his enthusiasm for the Arab Spring.It always begins with young,westernized people but ends in the mosque as the only coherent opposition to secular dictators.

    Libya as predicted is governed by warlords and is a weapons market for Jihadis.

    He has given rebels false hope and through vanity helped Syria into sectarian war.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    32 sagamix

    "And a big chance for David Cameron- my vote in 2015."
    Good evening saga - Do you think he'll still be Tory leader in 2015 ?

    Given the number of private schools to be closed, and an awful lot inequality issues to resolve, I'd say you've sold your vote fairly cheaply!

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    @32 Saga
    That top rate of tax needed to be put there in 2010. At the same time inflation needed to be brought negative & kept negative & major wholesale tax reform commenced, all the while keeping the cuts on schedule.

    Then by next year we might have been in a place where the Govt could justifiably start to unwind that top rate - and the middle ones - before the GElection.

    Bit late, now ...

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    "tax on turnover- might be a way"
    Or, IF our problems warrant (misdirection, corruption, unemployment, social division, radicalisation by 'any offer', resource wars, proxy wars, hurtling into climate change, population-cull, unreadiness for next planetesimal), only IF, we might consider being all 'on-side', in equal partnership. We could call it full democracy, or just really, democracy

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    A tax on turnover rather than on profit might be a way of preventing bogus profit losses being incurred by the purchase of extortionate "services" from one's holding company based in a low tax country. Was this mooted by G8?

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    Yes, two key issues.

    And a big chance for David Cameron:

    If he manages to secure G8 agreement on (i) no military intervention in Syria, and (ii) a 65% top rate of income tax, then he'll be very close to securing something even more important - my vote in 2015.

    In fact he'll be as near to getting my vote as it's possible to be without actually getting it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    they will talk a lot, and do nothing, sell arms to the Syrians both sides and go to bed in there million pound houses.
    mainly for 2 reasons.
    1. to solve tax avoidance is easy, reduce the amount of tax and make all companies pay tax on what they sell or what they receive in income this is what they do to me and you.
    2. arming people and trying to implement your morals on them will not work.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    #28 AndyC555 - speaking personally, I would thank the Good Lord that I earned so much and ensure that I at least spend the £4k in the local economy!
    Nice example, any particular reason that it was set in such a narrow income range?
    What happens when you earn £121,000 pa?

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    @27/28 Andy
    Er, ... that's good! Pension saving is to be encouraged. Have you not been paying attention, Andy?

    It's on the Beeb a lot. Those on middling incomes - not really high by lawyer/accountancy partner/media person/company director stds - are being encouraged to save for retirement, that removes them from need for Benefits support in old age & prob. keeps them paying tax in retirement.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.


    In fact, if you're over 55, and earn £118,880 you can either take home £7,174 of that last £18,880 OR you can put £18,880 into your pension, draw £4,720 out tax free to spendand leave the remaining £14,160 in your pension to grow tax free.

    Which would you do?

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.


    #23 AndyC555
    "There IS already a 60% marginal rate if you earn between £100k & c£119k. I can confirm it is counter productive."

    How exactly is it counterproductive?"

    Because (for example) given the choice between keeping £38 or putting £100 in a pension most people I advise are choosing not to keep the £38. Tax & NIC collected - Nil.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    "While the G8 leaders focus on.."

    leaders this, leaders that. I wish the BBC would stop calling these ineffective politicians "Leaders".
    They are only representatives, and temporary ones at that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    I am a small State low tax enthusiast. We have a Big State, low inc tax for some, high other taxes for all.

    As you point out below, people at lowest end of incomes are being taken out of IncTax but pay lots of other taxes. More taxes are then reqd to pay addl benefits (WTCs) to enable those low paid to survive our high cost of living, created in part by indirect&stealth taxes.


  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    #23 AndyC555
    "There IS already a 60% marginal rate if you earn between £100k & c£119k. I can confirm it is counter productive."
    How exactly is it counterproductive?
    Do people stop working when they have earned £99,999?
    Do they find ways to avoid earning more or just avoid paying tax on it?
    Or is it a function of the supreme apathy shown by HMRC to collecting it?


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