Following the success of the G7 Finance Ministers meeting, chaired by Rishi Sunak, and the surprise agreement to propose a global minimum tax rate, all eyes are now on this week’s G7 Summit in Cornwall.
In what has been touted as a ‘historic deal’ Ministers agreed on a minimum corporate tax rate of at least 15% with a proportion of the profit from the largest and most profitable multinationals taxed in the countries where they are selling their products or services.
In effect, this would mean that countries, where multinationals operate, will be able to top up taxes to 15% from a lower local rate if a company has based their HQ elsewhere for tax planning purposes.
While the G7 doesn’t have the power or secretariat to set or enforce international tax rates the announcement will have the effect of establishing momentum towards tax reform at the G20 in October and put pressure on discussions that have been ongoing between 139 countries at the OECD since 2012. The deal allows the US to protect income from its increased corporate tax rate from being undercut and allows EU and European countries to raise the tax from the global tech giants in return for dropping domestic digital tax plans.
The key driver for all this is, of course, the sheer scale of the cost of paying for the pandemic with the IPPR suggesting that the UK would receive a £7.5bn windfall.
Climate finance is the other key issue that will emerge from the G7 with an eye to COP26 in Glasgow in September. G7 Climate and Environment Ministers have been meeting to set the agenda for the summit and UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa, has said that “comprehensive financial support for developing countries will be critical to addressing the climate crisis, particularly for developing countries”. Ms Espinosa is urging the G7, as the most industrialized nations in the world, to provide the necessary funding to underpin strong climate action and unlock the true potential of the Paris Agreement.
There will be a range of global meetings taking place in the UK and in the EU on climate financing in the run-up to COP26. Rishi Sunak has set out the UK’s position advancing the role of finance in supporting the net-zero transition suggesting a figure of $100bn that should be raised by developed nations in annual revenue to support developing nations.
Rebuilding the global economy and how we fund climate change targets will be the two most pressing agenda items for governments for the next 12 months. The key thing now for businesses will be to understand what is driving that agenda and what they can bring to the table to help meet the political objectives and help the government get beyond the slogans.