Jan. 24 - Britain will use its year-long presidency of the G8 group of rich nations to push for global action against tax evasion and ''aggressive'' tax avoidance by wealthy individuals and businesses, Prime Minister David Cameron told an audience in Davos. (ROUGH CUT ONLY - NO REPORTER NARRATION)
(ROUGH CUT ONLY - NO REPORTER NARRATION) Britain will use its year-long presidency of the G8 group of rich nations to push for global action against tax evasion and "aggressive" tax avoidance by wealthy individuals and businesses, Prime Minister David Cameron said today. In a speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Mr Cameron said abuse of tax systems was "an issue whose time has come" and that he wanted to make sure individuals and companies "pay their fair share". In an apparent swipe at cafe chain Starbucks, whose failure to pay corporation tax in the UK over three years sparked widespread outrage, Mr Cameron said that it was time for businesses to "wake up and smell the coffee" about public anger at tax-avoidance practices which in some cases raised ethical issues. Speaking to an audience of world leaders, business figures and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the Swiss ski resort, Mr Cameron also said he hoped the UK's G8 presidency in 2013 would "put turbo-boosters" under the issue of transparency in developing world economies. Greater openness about who owns companies and land and the movement of assets and money has "staggering" potential in the fight against poverty, by ensuring a country's resources benefit its people and not just a super-rich elite, he said. Announcing his plans for the G8 to "drive a more serious debate on tax evasion and avoidance", Mr Cameron said: "This is an issue whose time has come. After years of abuse, people across the planet are calling for more action and most importantly, there is gathering political will to actually do something about it. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON, SAYING: "I believe in low taxes, that is why my government is cutting the top rate of income tax, we've cut corporation tax. I am a low-tax Conservative, but I am not a companies-should-pay-no-tax Conservative. Individuals and companies must pay their fair share. Any businesses who think they can carry on dodging that fair share or that they can keep on selling to the UK and setting up ever-more complex tax arrangements abroad to squeeze their tax bills right down will need to wake up and smell the coffee because the public who buy from them have had enough." (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON, SAYING: "I know that some people might be thinking - he's talking about cracking down on tax avoidance, talking about making companies more transparent, doesn't this sound like an anti-business, bash-the-rich, tax success agenda? Absolutely not, this is a resolutely pro-business agenda. I'm about the most pro-business leader you can find, I yield to no one in my enthusiasm for capitalism. It is an economic system that has generated more wealth, unleashed more human potential and reduced more grinding poverty than any other in history."