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, Political editor Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    #80. Steve_M-H
    "The problem with the left's moral repugnance though mate is that it is selective, not objective. Its not even subjective. Morals and the left are oxymorons."

    Steve(?), Steve, Steve....
    How do you square being a UKIPer and lecturing the brethren on morality?

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    From all the previous posts on here and from the news, it would appear that the government achieved nothing worth mentioning at the G8 summit.
    Tinkering round the edges of tax law to sound good but achieve very little and a half hearted agreement on Syria, David Cameron wanting regime change and Russia opposing regime change as a precursor to peace talks in Geneva.

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.


    "Only by acknowledging what Gordon Brown did right can you gain permission to criticise what he did wrong."
    I like this approach ! Similarly, only when Ed Milibandwagon and Ed Balls acknowledge what Gordon Brown did wrong, can they gain permission to praise what he did right.

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.


    The problem with the left's moral repugnance though mate is that it is selective, not objective. Its not even subjective. Morals and the left are oxymorons. Should never ever be seen together in the same sentence, unless its whole life without remission.


    He only did one thing right and he did it years too late. Resign. Keeping us out of the euro was to spite Blair, nothing else.

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    #69 DC received an inheritance on which IHT was paid.

    What his father did was neither aggressive nor tax avoidance. If I decide to put money in an offshore bank account that is in a tax haven that is not tax avoidance although if I fail to declare the interest received on my tax return that is tax evasion.

    But of course facts are clearly less important to you

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    IR35 @ 75

    Well at least you survived it.


    Andy @ 74

    You can, yes. But not until you stop making out that ISAs and SIPPs and those sort of routine everyman tax scams occupy a similar position on the moral repugnance scale as aggressive avoidance. Is that a deal?

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    "that stimulus"
    Again, to explain, banking support as in 2008 merely buys time, for the real economy to re-group

    The emergency made acute our longstanding need for stabilisation by rationing of incomes, for individuals and for our Aggregate Demand

    Gordon Brown foliowed all predecessors in failing that challenge, but we were limping towards recovery, UNTIL the electioneering of 2010

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    When IR35 was introduced, it was claimed that it would bring in an extra £300 million a year in tax & NI.

    A FOI request by the Professional Contractors Group in May 2009 received the reply that between 2002/3 and 2007/8 IR35 rules raised an additional £9.2m. That's a bit less than the £1,800 million we were led to believe would have been raised

    But was it Brown's biggest mis-calculation?

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    #73 the main thing he did wrong was IR35 in 1998/99 sujesting contractor were ripping the tax payers of on a grand scale , when in reality thier might have been a bit around the edges BUT NOT ON THE SCALE of
    the large CORPORATION and the BANKS and for 13 years he did nothing , he did not even try to apply IR35 or similiar schem to get the NI they were avoiding

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    73 "Only by acknowledging what Gordon Brown did right can you gain permission to criticise what he did wrong"

    He advanced the cause of tax planners by creating a Byzantine tax system which is in terms of statute the longest and most complex in the world.

    "Why use one sub-clause when you can write a whole new 16 Chapter Tax Act?" He (probably) used to say.

    Can I criticise him now?

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    steve 66

    Of course there are still problems. It was a god almighty crash. Not something to be just shrugged off.

    But without the co-ordinated action the situation would be far worse.

    The 'plan' worked in this respect and you'd be doing yourself a big favour by accepting it.

    Only by acknowledging what Gordon Brown did right can you gain permission to criticise what he did wrong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.


    So not aggressive at all

    You didn't answer my question. If you do have pension or ISA savings, why don't you move them to a normal bank account where the interest can be taxed?

    Ever donated to charity via gift aid? Why? You've deprived the exchequer of money. You've indulged your own wishes as to where your money goes

    Your avoidance of my questions smacks of aggressive hypocrisy

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    "Though entirely legal, the funds were set up in tax havens such as Panama City and Geneva, and explicitly boasted of their ability to remain outside UK tax jurisdiction."

    I suspect you have forgotten 100 times more about the subject than I have ever known.

    I can however detect the whiff of hypocrisy - perhaps you have not listened to any of Cameron's speeches. Try it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    engaged in aggressive tax avoidance schemes".

    In what sense was what Cameron Snr did "aggressive"? I understand he sited investment funds off-shore as he was perfectly entitled to do. Noting hidden or underhand. Didn't hit any one while doing it.

    Do you have funds in a pension or ISA? If so, why did you site them there? And will you donate a chunk to HMG?

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    Good Lord. It may have escaped your attention, but David Cameron is our current PM who is pontificating to the world about tax avoidance - whilst he himself is a significant beneficiary of exactly that. If you cannot perceive the hypocrisy in that, then I can only assume you were off doing mischievous things when you should have been attending lessons.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    #63 In other words we should be responsible for the sins of our fathers!

    Interesting philosophy. Does it only apply to tax (and clearly legal tax avoidance) or are you intending to apply it more generally.

    Also if it was an inheritance (as opposed to an exempt lifetime gift) IHT will have been paid on it

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    One will be razed.
    The other will just be raised.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.


    and that stimulous has led to what, Bryhers? You seen the riots In Brazil? You seen what happened to Greece? You seen how the US is addicted to $85 BILLION PER MONTH QE and dare not stop it for fear of a stock market meltdown??

    Yeah, that big idea of Brown's really worked. The man always was and still remains a complete liability totally unfit for public office of any kind.

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    5 Minutes ago
    You do not have to stay here and "endure" anything. I suggest you go off and play with some lego - the "duplo" or big block variety would likely suit you well.

  • Comment number 64.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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