Steve McCabe – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Department for International Development

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Steve McCabe on 2015-10-30.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, on what grounds UK aid is given to countries on the EU Commission tax haven blacklist.

Mr Desmond Swayne

DFID uses a range of criteria to inform how we allocate aid across countries. These criteria include, for example, current and projected poverty levels in the country, the country’s ability to self-finance its development (e.g. through domestic taxation), and the likely effectiveness of UK aid.

A number of EU member states maintain lists of jurisdictions for tax purposes against criteria concerning tax transparency and/or the prevailing tax rate. The EU does not maintain a blacklist; however a list of 30 jurisdictions that featured on 10 or more member state lists was compiled and then superseded by a recent European Commission update.

This update included UK Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories which had the UK’s signature of the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters extended to them in 2014. The updated individual member state lists can be found at: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/gen_info/good_governance_matters/lists_of_countries/.

Of the 30 jurisdictions named in the original list, 14 received UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) in 2013 (the most recent year for which consolidated figures are available). Of these 14, only three (Liberia, Montserrat and Vanuatu) received ODA from DFID for development and humanitarian assistance in that year. Details of funding amounts to these 14 jurisdictions can be found at the Statistics on International Development 2014 page of the gov.uk website.