Economy is key focus for G8 talks

David Cameron has made clear that his key priorities for the two-day G8 summit are economic issues, including a planned EU/US free trade deal and measures to crack down on tax havens.

The Prime Minister has put the "three Ts" of trade, tax and transparency at the top of the agenda while the UK holds the year-long presidency of the G8.

On Monday, US President Barack Obama and EU leaders are expected to launch negotiations on what has been dubbed an "economic Nato".

When talks conclude in 18-24 months time, Mr Cameron believes the EU/US trade pact could be worth £10 billion to the UK economy - or £380 for every British household.

He is also hoping to forge agreement on greater sharing of tax information in order to prevent companies and individuals avoiding paying their fair share by hiding cash in offshore bolt-holes.

At the weekend the tax transparency drive was boosted by the agreement of 10 British overseas territories and crown dependencies to sign up to new OECD standards.

Mr Cameron said: "I think we have made huge progress already, even before leaders have arrived here in Northern Ireland.

"I know the scepticism there is around the country about leaders meeting, a lot of words, will things happen? I want to be absolutely clear that my agenda here is about helping hard-working families right here in the United Kingdom.

"We've already actually gathered billions of pounds of extra tax revenue because of this agenda, which means that I can keep taxes down on hard-working families across the United Kingdom.

"We are going to achieve more on that. If we sign trade deals and start trade negotiations here at this meeting in Northern Ireland, that will cut prices and mean a wider range of goods in shops here in the United Kingdom and jobs here in the United Kingdom. So my focus is very clear - getting agreements, signing deals, making progress on issues that will help hard-working families right here in the United Kingdom. For me, that's what the agenda of this G8 is all about."

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