A group of 335 prominent economists from over 30 countries have signed a letter to world leaders calling for new international law that would end “the era of tax havens”, among them a Nobel Prize winner, a best selling author and hundreds of professors of economics.

Within the letter they admit that while their views on appropriate levels of taxation vary greatly, they are unanimous in their belief that tax havens undermine the workings of the global economy and degrade the rule of law.

The letter explains that tax havens have the greatest effect on poor countries and prevent them from lifting themselves out of poverty, stating that on an annual basis they are losing up to $170 billion in tax revenue.

It specifically highlights Malawi, where half the population of 16 million people live in poverty, as a case study of this process. If they were able to reclaim their lost tax revenue they would be able to provide basic services to their populations, like education and healthcare, which would help lift them from poverty.

The lost tax revenue from money that was revealed last year to be held by Malawians in Genevan HSBC accounts alone could pay for an additional 800 nurses a year. These additional personnel would make a world of difference in a country like Malawi where there is only 3 nurses for every 10,000 people.

The letter comes just days before the anti-corruption summit in London and calls on the UK specifically to lead the charge against tax havens, as it has “sovereignty over two thirds of the world’s tax havens” through its various territories.

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