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If we continue to hide from this problem, how will developing countries blessed with natural resources ever break out of the poverty trap?How will we stop people from risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean unless we enable them to build a better life back at home?
No country has a perfect record on these issues – and so there is a hesitation in raising them.
For too long there has been something of an international taboo over stirring up concerns.
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From tax evasion and overseas territories who have been accused of hiding the proceeds of corruption, to an MPs’ expenses scandal that tore at the fabric of the world’s oldest democracy, we have our own problems and we are very much still dealing with them.
That is why I have made tackling corruption such a political priority.That is why we are holding the Anti-Corruption Summit in London and why I have compiled this book.The essays in this book are not about trying to claim the moral high ground, nor about telling others what to do.So we are consulting on ways to make property ownership by foreign companies much more transparent – and considering whether to insist that any non-UK company wishing to bid on a contract with the UK government should publically state who really owns it.Yet all of these measures address only parts of the problem.In the end, we have to deal with corruption if we are to have any hope of a truly prosperous and secure future.Furthermore, people actually want us to deal with this problem, every bit as much as they want us to tackle issues like poverty and migration.They want the law to be upheld and they want the corrupt to be punished, with justice and recompense for those who have suffered.Yet while corruption is such a huge problem, the national and global efforts to deal with it are often weak.While many said it would never happen, today 129 jurisdictions have committed to implementing the international standard for exchange of tax information on request and more than 95 jurisdictions have committed to implementing the new global common reporting standard on tax transparency by 2018.Through our chairmanship of the United Nations High Level Panel, Britain secured the inclusion of tackling corruption at the heart of the new Sustainable Development Goals to eradicate absolute poverty from our world.