It is estimated that each year developing countries lose to tax evasion one and a half times the amount they receive in international aid. In the U.K. alone, the practice costs more than $91 billion annually, more than is spent on defense, welfare or education.
It is also figured that roughly 1,000 children succumb daily to “disease and poverty in poor countries because of illegal trade-related tax evasion.”
Those startling figures come from research touched on in a sleek new video on the subject by the British-based New Economics Foundation, the first of a four-part series on major problems in the global financial system and what can be done to solve them.
“There are maybe a few hundred thousand people who live in tax havens. There are billions of people who lose out as a result of tax haven activities,” says Dr. David McNair, a senior economic adviser with the relief and development agency Christian Aid.
“It’s ridiculous in times of austerity,” said Lydia Prieg of the New Economics Foundation’s Finance and Business Team, “when the government’s having to slash public services, left, right and center, that one of the first things that they’re just not seriously addressing is the fact that so much money is lost to the public purse as a result of tax havens.”