UK

Tax Avoidance Leads To 'Extravagant Prosperity' While Millions Around World Starve, Archbishop John Sentamu Says

08/06/2013 10:24 BST
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YORK, ENGLAND - APRIL 07: Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu speaks to the crowd during an Easter Saturday ceremony on April 7, 2012 in York, England. Baptism of adults by total immersion is a symbolic ritual signifying a believer's death to their old life and a re-birth in Christ. New Christians are baptised into the faith the day before Easter Sunday which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, three days after his execution on the cross. Sentamu is the 97th Archbishop of York. (Photo by Bethany Clarke/Getty Images)

The Archbishop of York has spoken out against the "morally bankrupt" who avoid paying their fair share of tax.

Dr John Sentamu said everyone has a responsibility to pay their way and suggested it would be good if everyone has to make public the taxes they pay.

The Archbishop told The Telegraph that although he thought Prime Minister David Cameron's recent pledge to tackle tax evasion was "admirable", more must be done worldwide in order to help those living in poverty.

"In many countries, it's impossible to find out how much money governments receive in taxes and other revenues or to discover how that money is then spent," he said.

"This lack of transparency means that companies in our global village can get away with tax-dodging or bribery.

"It leads to the extravagant prosperity of a small number of people while millions starve at their gates.

"We have seen in our own country that certain people will always look to find ways to avoid paying their fair share of tax - whilst this may not be a crime in the literal sense, it is a morally bankrupt way to behave.

"We have a responsibility to our neighbours and to our society that we cannot hide from, no matter how far we run."

Dr Sentamu, who recently revealed he is going through treatment for prostate cancer, spoke in support of the Enough Food For Everyone IF campaign to help end global hunger.

The IF campaign is calling on those at today's Nutrition for Growth Summit to pledge an additional billion US dollars a year to help end the issue of hunger across the world.

It is taking place as campaigners including Bill Gates and Danny Boyle are set to address a protest rally demanding the G8 act on the issue at their summit in Northern Ireland later this month.

The demonstration is expected to attract thousands to Hyde Park to mark 10 days until the Prime Minister takes charge of the G8 summit.

Cameron has made clamping down on tax evasion and avoidance a key priority for the meeting.

"I hope that over the next few days, from the Hunger Summit to the G8 meeting, we will see decisions made here in the UK that will eventually see an end to extremes of inequality around the planet," the Archbishop said.

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