Oral statement to Parliament
Prime Minister Commons statement on G20
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
David Cameron spoke on the discussions at the G20, focusing on trade, tax and transparency as well as the threat of conflict and disease.
Mr Speaker, I am sure the whole House will join with me in utterly condemning the sickening murder of American aid worker Peter Kassig.
Our thoughts are with his family and his friends at this time.
Mr Speaker, we will not be cowed by these sick terrorists. They will be defeated and they must face the justice that they deserve.
This threat is faced by countries right across the world, we must face it together. It featured strongly in the discussions I had with Prime Minister Tony Abbott in my bilateral visit to Australia.
I took the opportunity of setting out further detail on some of the steps we will take as part of the Counter-Terrorism Bill here in the United Kingdom.
As the House knows, these include new powers for police at ports to seize passports, to stop suspects from travelling and to stop British nationals returning to the UK unless they do so on our terms.
It also includes new rules to prevent airlines that don’t comply with our no-fly lists, or our security screening measures, from landing in the UK.
Every country across the world is examining what powers are necessary to keep their people safe. And I am determined we will do just that right here.
We will make a full announcement about the Counter-Terrorism Bill soon.
Mr Speaker, let me turn to the G20 Summit in Brisbane this weekend.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott set a clear agenda for the world economy and we gave it our strong backing.
The Brisbane Action Plan (pdf) includes a commitment on dealing with our debts, an infrastructure hub that will see British companies as part of a global pipeline for some of the biggest projects on the planet.
But above all it is a plan for growth and jobs, with every country pledging actions that will boost global growth and therefore help create jobs. The aim is an additional $2 trillion to be added to the global economy.
And when it comes to growth last year, this year and the forecast for next year, as the head of the IMF said in Brisbane, it is Britain and America that are leading the pack.
However it is also clear that growth is stalling in the Eurozone.
That world trade is not developing as fast as it should.
That previous fast-growing economies are slowing down and only today Japan entered recession.
These warning signs in the global economy show that it’s more important than ever that we stick to our long term economic plan.
That is the only way we can secure a better future for our country.
Mr Speaker there were also important discussions on climate change, where China and America took important steps forward at the APEC summit in terms of moving towards a deal in Paris next year.
Britain will continue to play a key role, including by using our already earmarked resources for the UN Green Climate Fund.
In terms of the global negotiations, the EU has taken the lead with significant planned cuts in carbon emissions.
And I made clear the importance of every country – Australia included – making a contribution to securing a deal next year.
Mr Speaker, my focus at this summit was on helping to deliver our long-term economic plan by addressing some of the big global challenges that could potentially threaten our recovery at home.
There was important progress on fighting protectionism, on dealing with the damaging effects of global tax avoidance and corruption, and on confronting the instability caused by conflict and disease.
And I want to take each briefly in turn.
On fighting protectionism and promoting free trade, we welcomed the breakthrough on the Bali trade facilitation agreement which had been stuck for so long.
After an agreement between America and India, it will now go ahead.
There was also an important meeting between the countries of the European Union and the United States to agree that an EU-US trade deal must be done next year.
This could add £10 billion to the UK economy alone.
These trade deals can mean jobs and growth for Britain.
So I challenged European leaders to think ambitiously about other deals that could be done, including with our hosts Australia, and with emerging markets like India and China.
And we pressed for reform of the World Trade Organisation so that poverty busting trade deals can be put together, more quickly and agreed and implemented.
Britain, Germany and the US, among others, all agreed that the way this organisation works needs to change in the future.
Tax and transparency
Second, there was progress on ensuring that big companies pay the taxes they owe.
This isn’t just a technical issue, it is a moral one.
Ensuring the correct taxes are paid is vital in sustaining low taxes and enabling hardworking families and small businesses to keep more of the money they earn.
That is why Britain first put this on the international agenda at the G8 in Northern Ireland last year.
And this issue has now been firmly hard-wired into the G20 agenda.
This summit agreed a G20-wide action plan to ensure there is nowhere for large companies to avoid paying taxes that are due.
There are now 93 different countries and tax authorities signed up to automatically sharing tax information. Before the G8 in Northern Ireland it was just 29.
And as the OECD set out in Brisbane, the action we have taken so far has in their view already meant $37 billion of extra tax being paid by big companies.
Mr Speaker the Lough Erne summit also made important commitments at G8-level to stop the true owners of companies hiding behind a veil of secrecy.
This is vital in tackling the cancer of corruption that does so much to destroy countries and increase the risks to our own security.
And in Brisbane we agreed to extend this work on beneficial ownership to cover the whole G20, China included.
Conflict and disease
Third, Britain continued to play a leading role in dealing with the threat of conflict and disease which is not only vital in keeping our people safe but also in ensuring our long-term prosperity.
On the conflict in Ukraine, we called on Russia to respect the Minsk agreements and made clear that if it does not then we remain ready to intensify sanctions.
Mr Speaker, of course there is an economic cost to us from sanctions.
But I believe the cost of allowing such a fundamental breach of our global rules-based system to go unchecked would be infinitely greater, in terms of cost in the long run.
I met with President Putin and once again made clear that continued destabilisation of Ukraine can only mean more sanctions and more pressure.
He has said that he does not want a frozen conflict and – as he put it to me – sees Ukraine as a single political space but he must be judged by his deeds not by his words.
On Ebola, I wrote to Australian Prime Minister Abbott ahead of the Summit to secure a specific G20 leaders’ statement, with a clear plan for dealing with this disease and for improving our readiness to respond to such epidemics in future.
Other countries including South Korea, Japan and Australia are now doing more to help with more money, trained medical staff and equipment.
While the IMF agreed to double its current programmes in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea and to provide additional debt relief.
The UK will continue to lead the way on the development of a vaccine, with the Wellcome Trust establishing a joint research fund of over £1 million.
We also welcomed the support of the English and Scottish Football Associations who will be raising money at their friendly international tomorrow night.
Mr Speaker, I also pushed the G20 to consider additional measures that could improve the ability of the global community to respond to a similar outbreak of disease in the future.
This could include the possibility of a standing pool of global medical experts who can be deployed quickly during the early stages of a potential epidemic, strengthening in-country surveillance and health infrastructure, asking the IMF and World Bank to explore new mechanisms for ensuring the world is better prepared to deal with such pandemics in future, and doing more to fight bacteria that is resistant to present day antibiotics.
The World Health Organisation itself requires some fundamental reform.
So Mr Speaker, this was a good G20 for Britain.
We delivered progress on the key global economic challenges that will help to protect us from a global economic downturn.
And in doing so we supported our long-term economic plan to repair the broken economy we inherited and to deliver jobs and growth in every part of our country.
And I commend this statement to the House.