As I watched G8 leaders arrive in Northern Ireland, it takes me back to perhaps my first taste of politics – when I volunteered to help out during discussions to negotiate the Northern Ireland Peace Process in the 1990s.

Even in the most positive moments back then, few could have imagined that in around 20 years, the leaders of the G8 would be gathering in Lough Erne to discuss world affairs. It was particularly inspiring to hear President Obama take the opportunity to address young people in Belfast before the start of the summit.
 
It is a good choice of location by the Prime Minister and serves as a fitting reminder of what can be achieved with goodwill, working together – and sheer determination.
 
I am hopeful that the G8 summit will make significant progress on its stated goals of trade, tax and transparency. The summit kicks off with the focus on a trade deal between the US and the EU, which could be worth up to £10bn a year to the UK economy. This deal would seek to remove remaining tariffs and other barriers to trade such as inconsistent safety and technical requirements in the different regions.

I have received several letters and emails from constituents concerned about the issue of tax avoidance both within this country and the impact that it has on developing countries. The ‘Enough Food for Everyone IF’ campaign highlighted the billions that flow out of developing countries due to tax evasion – more than they receive in aid. I recently wrote to the Prime Minister to express my concerns.

It is time for the G8 to lead the world in the areas of tax and ownership, to put our own house in order in ways that will benefit both our own economies and those of the developing world.