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Royal Town’s MP secures victory for greater financial openness in the overseas territories

In a victory for transparency campaigners, Andrew Mitchell MP and a cross-party group of MPs – including around 20 Conservatives - forced the UK Government to accept an amendment which imposes Open Registers of ownership in Britain’s overseas territories, principally in the Caribbean by the end of 2020.

The cross-party campaign - led by Andrew Mitchell for the Tories and Dame Margaret Hodge for Labour – secured the backing of numerous high-profile MPs including Ken Clarke, Harriet Harman, Ed Miliband, Dominic Grieve and Sir Vince Cable.

The amendment has meant the names of the super-rich, who launder their money in tax havens such as the Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands, will now be published.

A number of charities have also welcomed the new transparency laws, not least Oxfam and ActionAid UK which noted that the measures will help shine a light on corruption and tax evasion which keeps the most vulnerable people in the world locked in poverty.

The measures were first mooted five years ago by David Cameron who put tax avoidance at the top of his agenda during the 2013 G8 summit which brought in UK-registered companies in 2016 with the view for British overseas territories to do same. However, many of the tax-havens dug in against any progress and they became wealthy through their tax-haven status.

Andrew Mitchell said:
“These measures make it clear that the UK will not standby idly by as illicit and tainted money flows through Great Britain. The overseas territories share our Queen. They travel under our flag, and they should also share our values.”

Photo: Andrew Mitchell MP speaking in the House of Commons

Andrew Mitchell MP speaking in the House of Commons

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