Ministers make an about-turn on tax haven transparency measures
In a reverse of its previous position, the Government has backed measures to increase the transparency of offshore tax havens.
The measures will compel British overseas territories to make public their records of the true owners of the companies that are registered there.
The measures were contained in an amendment to the Anti-Money Laundering Bill that was proposed by Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge and Conservative MP, Andrew Mitchell.
While the Government had initially opposed the measure, support from 19 Conservative MPs and backing from other parties appeared to lead to the change in tack.
Home Office Minister, Sir Alan Duncan, said: “We’ve listened to the strength of feeling in the House on this issue and accept that it is without a doubt the majority view of this House that the overseas territories should have public registers.”
Although the measure will affect British overseas territories, it will not affect Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, which are crown dependencies.
In addition to the transparency measures, the Government has also backed the so-call ‘Magnitsky’ amendment to sanction human rights abusers.