Archive | October, 2014

Justice Mail Action 22nd October 2014

Dear Justice Mail Friends,

 The following is from World Development Movement

 The government is sitting down with a big priority on their to-do list: The Plant Breeders Bill 2013. We know, it sounds harmless. But don’t let that fool you. All the most dangerous laws sound innocuous, until you see them in practice.

At the moment, small-scale farmers and food producers in Ghana can save seeds to plant again the following year or exchange seeds with each other. This means re-using and pooling resources. So far, so sensible.

But the Plant Breeders Bill will restrict this. Instead, small-scale farmers in Ghana will have to buy their seeds from big companies that lay claim to them every year, pushing many of them into debt and poverty. Worst of all, they could be criminalised if they do save or exchange seeds.

And shockingly,
the UK is supporting this law through aid programmes like the New Alliance.

 Use the link below to email your MP asking him to oppose this law.

 http://action.wdm.org.uk/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1784&ea.campaign.id=32583&ea.tracking.id=bdfzn3cu&ea.url.id=301978

  

Cheers

Mike Cross

All Saints Justice Mail

 

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Dear All Saints Justice Mail Friends,

 

The following is from the Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament

 

The government says Britain has no money. It is cutting billions from public spending on health care, education, welfare and services and devastating peoples’ lives. Yet at the same time it is spending billions every year on nuclear weapons and plans to spend over £100 billion on a replacement for the Trident nuclear weapons system.

 

It is time to comply with our obligation under international law to accomplish the total elimination of our nuclear arsenal. By doing so we would send a message to the world that spending for peace and development and meeting people’s real needs is our priority, not spending on weapons of mass destruction.

 

 

Use the link below to sign the Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament’s petition to ask the government to scrap Trident

 

http://www.cnduk.org/campaigns/no-to-trident/scrap-trident-petition

 

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From All Saints Church Magazine

 Tax Havens or How the Rich Deceive and Rob the Poor

One of the causes of the widening worldwide gap between rich and poor people is the use of tax havens. These are also described as off-shore financial centres or as Secrecy Jurisdictions. They are small semi-independent states which by offering very low taxation regimes attract overseas money. Not all of these are literally off-shore. Some are small European countries such as Switzerland and the Netherlands, or states of America like Delaware. Others are small island states such as Cyprus, Jersey and the Cayman Islands. There are estimated to be about sixty of these financial centres operating. They have been steadily developing over the last thirty or forty years.

Business companies and trans-national corporations obtain offices in these places even although their profits are generated somewhere else. This enables the company to pay little or no tax in the country where it does most of its business on the grounds that it is not legally registered in that country. This is how Amazon, Starbucks and many other firms that trade in the UK manage to avoid paying much UK tax.

Is it illegal?

Because tax havens are independent countries, they are free to create whatever tax laws they want, and there is no legislation requiring companies that work in a particular country to have their registered offices in the same country. By this means, the tax which would be due in the country in which they work can be avoided. The lawyers working for these firms argue that tax avoidance is not the same as the criminal tax evasion, although many authorities insist that there is hardly any difference between avoidance and evasion.

If it is not illegal, then why does it matter?

It matters because by putting their money in tax havens, rich individuals and profitable companies can enjoy the benefits of free trade without the costs of citizenship. They deny to the governments of a country, and so deny the people of the country, the legitimate tax upon the money which has been made in the country. Yet, when one of these companies, such as a major bank, gets into financial trouble, it is the ordinary tax payers who foot the bill! So we the people pay for the freedom the banks have to exploit us! This is very serious in very poor countries. It is estimated that for every two dollars international companies earn in Africa, at least one dollar leaves Africa for a tax haven, beyond the reach of the African tax authorities.

Let us look at the scale of this in one tax haven, the British Cayman Islands.

The Caymans have around 57,000 people, but 92,000 companies. It is estimated that $1.4 trillion in bank assets and liabilities are there.

These are times of austerity, and it is disgraceful that the rich are piling up huge wealth at the expense of the others. And they are nearly all in it – all but two or three of the one hundred companies listed in the Financial Times Index are believed to have money in their subsidiaries registered in a tax haven.

Can’t this be prevented? Perhaps, but the power of money is getting greater every day.

What can you do?

First, become well informed. Read the websites of the Tax Justice Network (www.taxjustice.net) and the Global Financial Integrity (www.gfintegrity.org), or read the stunning book by Nicholas Shaxson: Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and The Men who Stole the World (London: Bodley Head, 2011).

John M Hull

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