This afternoon the government unexpectedly conceded on an amendment tabled in the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill to force British overseas-territories (UK tax havens) to publish full and transparent public registers of who owns what businesses registered there. This is a huge victory and long-awaited victory for tax justice campaigners.
Christian Aid’s UK Parliamentary and Political Adviser Simon Kirkland said: “This is the news we have been waiting for. In what marks a major victory for tax justice the UK’s Overseas Territories will for the first time be required to reveal the names of people who own companies registered there for public scrutiny. This is a major step forward in the fight against the tax avoidance, evasion and corruption that costs developing countries so dearly. Tax havens like the UK’s Overseas Territories cost developing countries hundreds of billions of dollars every year.
"We are delighted that MPs have today agreed to accept a cross-party amendment that will ensure real transparency in the UK’s Overseas Territories by 2021. The Bill now goes back to the House of Lords for approval. We urge Peers to leave the Bill as it is, and not seek to change or remove this new amendment. We hope that the final legislation will finally begin to put to an end the UK’s role at the heart of the global world of offshore secrecy.
The amendment was brought about by an excellent cross-party group of senior MPs, led by Margaret Hodge MP and Andrew Mitchell MP, who is a former International Development Secretary.”