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Labour will demand public register for UK’s territories

| 09/02/2015 | 9 Comments

(CNS): If the Labour party wins the UK general election in May, the Cayman Islands and other British overseas territories will be required to introduce publicly accessible beneficial ownership registries or face blacklisting. Ed Miliband has reportedly written to all of the UK’s overseas territories to warn them what he will expect should he be the next UK prime minister. If they don’t they could find themselves on a “tax havens” list and incur sanctions.

Cayman News Service

Labour Leader Ed Miliband

“Billions of pounds are being lost in tax avoidance,” Miliband told the UK press at the weekend. “Today we’re serving notice on tax havens linked to Britain that they must open their books within six months of a Labour government, or face international action.”

The letter is being sent to overseas territories Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Gibraltar and Montserrat, as well as the crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.

“If any overseas territory or crown dependency does not meet this deadline, we will ask the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to put them on the OECD’s tax haven blacklist,” he said.

The minister for financial services in Cayman, Wayne Panton, told CNS Saturday that the Cayman government had not yet received any correspondence from the Labour Party leader.

Although the CIG had managed to persuade the Conservative government at the recent Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) meeting in London that the current regime was sufficient to meet the requirements of international standards, the Labour party will be pressing for a public register. The local financial services sector has stated that if Cayman made such a move before it becomes an international standard, it would spell the end of the country’s lucrative offshore industry.

However, Miliband said the OTs and crown dependencies could help to stem or even stop tax avoidance by showing tax authorities who is diverting money into the companies registered in those jurisdictions.

In a speech to a Labour conference in Nottingham on Saturday, Miliband said that David Cameron, the current UK prime minister, had promised to shine a light on tax havens linked to Britain but “their affairs are still shrouded in darkness”. The Labour party leader said, “Britain is losing billions of pounds in lost revenue that could be invested in our future.”

The UK election is less than 90 days away and Labour is ahead in the polls but only by a slim margin of some 2% points.

Anti-tax haven activist group, Global Witness, stated, “This move by Labour should serve as a rallying call to other major financial centres, including the  US, which is one of the worst offenders.”

Citing a  New York Times article, the first in a series of five high profile exposés of how secretive companies facilitate high end real estate transactions by wealthy foreigners, the group referred to claims by The Times that the individuals they have investigated “have been able to make these multimillion-dollar purchases with few questions asked because of United States laws that foster the movement of largely untraceable money through shell companies”.

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Category: Finance, Financial Services

Comments (9)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully, Miliband will not be the next Prime Minister of the UK. However, if that disaster should befall the UK so many Labour supporters (including many senior trade unionists) have money safely tucked away in offshore accounts this will never happen.

  2. Anonymous says:

    But yet the tax evasion continues right within England’s borders. The latest scandal involving HSBC assisting thousands (including Royals, politicians etc) in avoiding the tax man, will reveal just how the Labor Government truly is on this issue.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Here’s hoping Cayman and every other jurisdiction completely ignore this requirement. You can’t blacklist everyone!

  4. Anonymous says:

    screwed himself and his party. lol

  5. Anonymous says:

    Should Ed and Labour get in, they will not only destroy offshore businesses, they will continue to destroy the British people and their way of life.

  6. Time For Change says:

    So will we be able to vote in these elections if our future is at stake I presume not… typical British Do as I say attitude..

  7. GR says:

    To quote from the BBC article: “Conservative Treasury minister David Gauke said: “Ed Miliband’s big idea has collapsed in chaos within hours of its announcement. He doesn’t appear to understand that the UK is the only country in the OECD committed to a public central register.

    “He wants the OECD to blacklist countries if they don’t do the same as us. But that would mean blacklisting every single country in the OECD apart from the UK – countries like the US, France and Germany. Once again, it’s clear that Ed Miliband is simply not up to the job.””

    • Anonymous says:

      Did Mr Miliband really say that Britain is “losing… lost revenue”? How can they lose something that is already lost?

  8. Anonymous says:

    A victory for Labour or a Labour/SNP Coalition probably could deal a fatal blow to offshore business from UK Overseas Territories.

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