Christian Aid has urged Theresa May to use the "full weight" of her government’s influence to persuade the UK’s Overseas Territories to end the secrecy around the ownership of companies hosted on their shores.
This comes as press reports suggest that Theresa May is meeting leaders of the UK’s Overseas Territories today (8 February 2017).
Christian Aid’s UK Parliamentary and Political Adviser Simon Kirkland said: “Now is the moment for Theresa May to demonstrate her clear commitment to transparency and making an economy that works for everyone, including the world’s poorest people.
“For years now the UK’s Overseas Territories have acted as some of the most secretive tax havens in the world, facilitating tax dodging and corruption in the UK’s own back yard. It’s time to get tough.
“The government has repeatedly instructed the Overseas Territories to introduce registers of the companies they host. While some have made limited progress, only one – the tiny island of Monserrat – has adopted the same level of transparency as the UK. This double standard is not in the interest of the UK and undermines global efforts to stop secrecy and corruption.
Mr Kirkland continued: “Offshore tax havens like the British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands are part of a network of secrecy jurisdictions that cost developing countries at least $100 billion every year, according to the United Nations. People in developing countries are losing out to UK-governed territories, and the Prime Minister needs to step in.
“The Prime Minister should heed the calls of nearly 90 MPs from eight parties who have signed an amendment to the Criminal Finances Bill, which would ensure that the Overseas Territories have these public registers by the time of the next general election.”
* Christian Aid http://www.christianaid.org.uk/