Britain has no tax havens left. Pull the other one.
Fiona O'Donnell (East Lothian) (Lab): All 10 tax havens among the UK’s overseas territories and Crown dependencies committed at the G8 to sign the multilateral convention on mutual and administrative assistance in tax matters. Will the Prime Minister tell the House whether the timetable is in place yet and, if so, how many have signed?So let's see. The Cayman Islands: not a tax haven. The British Virgin Islands: not a tax haven. Jersey: not a tax haven. Bermuda: not a tax haven. And so on.
The Prime Minister: They all agreed to take the necessary action on tax exchange with the UK, international tax co-operation and beneficial ownership, all of which was set out at the meeting I had with them. I cannot recall the exact timetable off the top of my head, but I will make this point: I do not think it is fair any longer to refer to any of the overseas territories or Crown dependencies as tax havens. They have taken action to make sure that they have fair and open tax systems. It is very important that our focus should now shift to those territories and countries that really are tax havens. The Crown dependencies and overseas territories, which matter so much—quite rightly—to the British people and Members have taken the necessary action and should get the backing for it.
Does any of this sound familiar?
What utter nonsense. So multinational corporations have suddenly stopped using Bermuda for corporate tax shenanigans? Where are all the headlines in the financial press? So wealthy African politicians have suddenly stopped using their discretionary trusts, or reserved powers trusts, combined with low-tax facilities and nominee directors? And so on, and so on, and so on.
These places are tax havens, pure and simple. The UK's Prime Minister has nudged the tax havens into cleaning up - a little bit. Now he has switched sides, and has firmly bought into their public relations exercises.