‘Name and shame’ tax havens under fire

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ePolitix.com reports on yesterdays debate at Westminster on the British Overseas Territories:

During a debate on the foreign affairs committee's report on overseas territories, Andrew MacKinlay (Lab, Thurrock) accused the government of attempting to distance itself from its responsibilities.

"Ministers can't pretend it’s a remote problem they are trying to get their hands on, they are to blame," he said.

whilst, pleasingly a Tory joined in:

John Stanley (Con, Tonbridge and Malling), questioned why the chancellor had dodged the question when asked directly about the number by Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Vince Cable.

The Conservative member of the foreign affairs committee suggested that perhaps this was because the chancellor judged the answer might be an embarrassment to the Foreign Office.

"It is somewhere towards shocking that we have half the overseas territories on the name and shame list," he added.

and the Lib Dems too:

Noting that the UK is directly responsible for financial regulation in many of the territories, Jo Swinson (Lib Dem, East Dunbartonshire) said there should be therefore "no barrier" to reform.

The Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesperson said help needed to be given to the territories to re-adjust their economies.

"We do need to recognise that the revenue they receive for financial services form a large part of their economy," she said.

"Support will need to be given to develop other economic avenues that are less shady or internationally embarrassing."

That is right: it will be necessary.

In response the governemnt said it had written to the Territories in question. True, it has. But it's not clear what the Foot Commission is doing. The government has a lot of work to do.