Ed Miliband has tonight told tax havens that under Labour they will have six months to open up their books otherwise they’ll be put on an international sanctions list.
Miliband will explain that although David Cameron said over a year and a half ago that make tax havens to publish their registers, not one has done so.
The Labour leader has written a letter to heads of government, saying that if Labour win in May they’ll have six months to publish publicly accessible central registers of beneficial ownership. If they don’t fail to meet this deadline, Labour will withdraw the protection they get from international scrutiny and put them on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s tax haven blacklist.
In an interview with the Guardian, Miliband explained the reason for doing this
“More than 18 months have passed since David Cameron promised to shine a light on the tax havens in UK overseas territories and Crown Dependencies – and their affairs are still shrouded in darkness. That may be good enough for him, but it will not satisfy me, or the incoming Labour government
“There is nothing pro-business about defending tax avoidance. The United Kingdom has a responsibility to open up the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies which are held responsible for so much tax secrecy and avoidance.
“And it is costing everyone who relies on our schools, our hospitals, our roads and our railways. It is costing everyone who pays their fair share of taxes, including millions of British businesses.
“Billions of pounds is being siphoned off into tax havens where our authorities cannot discover even the true ownership of firms registered there, let alone the scale of wealth hidden away.
“Today, I am putting these tax havens on notice that they will have just six months to open up their books or face international sanction.”