Cameron & Corbyn Spar Over OTs In Parliament

April 20, 2016

UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn sparred in Parliament over matters related to the Overseas Territories, with Mr Corbyn calling Bermuda a “tax haven”, and Mr Cameron asking how Mr Corbyn plans to “force” the OTs, asking “have we finally found a potential Prime Minister” who wants to “invade Gibraltar.”

Mr Corbyn had previously suggested that the UK should consider imposing “direct rule” over British Overseas Territories if they do not comply with UK tax law.

Speaking recently in UK Parliament, Mr Corbyn said, “The Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca registered more than 100,000 secret firms in the British Virgin Islands. It is a scandal that UK overseas territories registered over half the shell companies set up by Mossack Fonseca.

“The truth is that the UK is at the heart of the global tax avoidance industry. It is a national scandal and it has got to end. Last year, this Government opposed the EU Tax Commissioner Pierre Moscovici’s blacklist of 30 un-cooperative tax havens,” Mr Corbyn added.

“That blacklist included the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands. So my fourth question is: will the Prime Minister now stop blocking European Commission plans for a blacklist of tax havens?

Mr Corbyn continued on to directly reference Bermuda, saying: “Last June, Treasury officials lobbied Brussels not to take action against Bermuda’s tax secrecy.

“According to the European Union’s transparency register, the tech giant Google has no fewer than 10 employees lobbying Brussels. Bermuda is the tax haven favoured by Google to channel billions in profits.

“Conservative MEPs have been instructed on six occasions since the beginning of last year to vote against action to clamp down on aggressive tax avoidance. This is a party incapable of taking serious, internationally coordinated action to tackle tax dodging.”

In response, Prime Minister David Cameron said, “No Government have done more to encourage them to take part in exchanging information, reporting tax information, and making sure that they give us the information on beneficial ownership.

“The leader of the Labour party has suggested that we should force them. How is he going to force them? What is he going to do?

“Have we finally found a potential Prime Minister who wants to give the Falkland Islands back to Argentina and invade Gibraltar? Is that what it has come to?”.

The Bermuda Business Development Agency [BDA] previously said, “Some of the recent reporting on the ‘Panama Papers’ perpetuates the myth that all offshore financial centres are the same.

“The fact is: Bermuda is different. While there may be businesses, service providers and lax regulatory environments around the world that enable illegal tax evasion, Bermuda is not one of them.

“Bermuda is different. Bermuda has an extremely positive global reputation built on transparency, compliance and cooperation—these attributes have been differentiating hallmarks of the jurisdiction for decades.”

Earlier this month, Finance Minister Bob Richards appeared on the UK’s ‘BBC Newsnight’ programme to discuss the Papers and Bermuda’s tax system, with the Minister pointing out that Bermuda is not mentioned in the Panama Papers, while the UK is.

In addition, Kimberley Durrant, the UK Representative for Bermuda Government, wrote a column for the Financial Times in which she said that financial secrecy only exists where there is no register at all and “here in Bermuda, we operate to disclosure standards which have for decades far exceeded those of the UK itself.”

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Comments (5)

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  1. In his defence says:

    Im just going to say that this man has an serious objective against Bermuda. Either something happen here that has to do with him physically or something about this country he doesn’t like. Its no way one minister skips all the dodgy countries and target Bermuda as the number 1 tax haven jurisdiction. Maybe in due time he will unveil his distrust for Bermuda in due time. Obviously someone hear rubbed him the wrong way.

    • Sincerious says:

      Or just a case of you cannot fix stupid.

    • Rene Clarke says:

      So sad,
      Bermuda doesn’t collect taxes for other countries. He should be lobbying the USA to rewrite their tax code.
      Maybe he thinks Bermuda gets some of the billions giants like Google avoid having to pay.

  2. swing voter says:

    Is that donkey aware that the UK made the top 10, but Bermuda didn’t even make a ‘honourable’ mention? Clean up your mess first Corbyn, your house has several broken windows that need fix in

  3. Kangoocar says:

    Just more reason to never vote for any political party that has the name ” Labour ” in it!!