Panama Papers and Tax Havens

The revelations in the Panama papers are extremely serious and many people feel very strongly about the injustice uncovered.  That’s why there needs to be decisive action against global tax avoidance.

The Government has failed to take essential action to clean up the system and we need a new and more effective approach. There should be an immediate public inquiry into the revelations in the Panama papers, to establish the harm done to the UK's tax revenue and consider detailed proposals for reform.

There should be far greater transparency and enforcement in relation to those who try to hide their wealth and profits in tax havens and strict minimum standards on transparency for crown dependencies and overseas territories like the British Virgin Islands - where more than 100,000 Panama papers’ firms were based. This should include a public register of owners, directors, major shareholders and beneficial owners. I also believe HMRC should be properly resourced to investigate tax avoidance and evasion and there should be a new specialised tax enforcement unit.

Earlier this month I voted in the House of Commons for Labour’s motion which called for a public inquiry on the Panama papers and set out a range of steps dealing with avoidance and promoting openness and transparency. I was disappointed that the Government opposed this motion and will continue to support the action necessary to restore fairness to our tax system.

Hilary Benn
MP for Leeds Central

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