The upcoming meeting of G-8 economies is facing resistance from opposite ends of the ideological spectrum including tiny, tax-haven nations, anti-capitalist protesters, environmentalists, and opponents of the British government’s austerity measures.
High on the agenda of the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland on Monday and Tuesday and to be chaired by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, are ways to combat pervasive tax evasion, an objective that has been facing criticism from offshore jurisdictions, dubbed as tax havens.
British Crown Dependencies, Jersey and the Isle of Man, said that the world’s largest economies should first resolve tax avoidance issues within their boundaries, before accusing small islands of helping wealthy corporations and individuals avoid taxes.
“Politicians love scapegoats,” the Isle of Man's Chief Minister Allan Bell said, according to a BBC report. “And the G8 agenda is being politically driven because there's always someone else to point a finger at.”
He accused U.S. President Barack Obama of double standards, saying the U.S. federal government exercised no direct control over the tax policies of individual states.
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“We just want a level playing field when it comes to tax transparency,” Bell said.
“It's totally selfish from the USA because they want to track down their own tax evaders overseas, without looking at Delaware,” a U.S. state, which is considered a tax haven within the country, and where the number of registered companies exceeds the population.
Cameron is facing resistance from his Canadian counterpart, Stephen Harper, who wants to scrap a G-8 measure that would crack down on anonymous shell companies. The Canadian government’s critics say that Canada’s large banking institutions are lobbying the Harper government to block the move.
In London, anti-capitalist activists have planned to stage an anti-G8 demonstration on Friday under the banner “They Owe Us” at Canary Wharf, which houses major financial corporations, Reuters reported. On Tuesday, some 60 people were arrested for participating in an anti-capitalist rally of around 200 people in central London.
“The businesses and banks of Canary Wharf are deciding on, funding and profiting from projects that created the economic crisis and the climate crisis,” Emma Wilding, an activist, said in a statement, reported by Reuters.
“We have come to this pinnacle of capitalism to resist and challenge this because this is where the decisions are made that ruin our lives.”
Security operations around the summit will be tight, with police deployed in riot gear, dog handlers and Land Rovers, according to a BBC report. Water cannons would be available to the police if required, as well as helicopters, boats and even an unmanned aerial drone, the report said.