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'Action needed' to curb tax havens

'Action needed' to curb tax havens
From BBC - November 6, 2017

The government must stop "dragging its feet" and curb the use of offshore tax havens, opposition politicians say.

Their criticism comes after a leak of financial papers from Bermuda revealing the secret investments of the rich and famous, including the Queen.

Sir Vince Cable said British overseas tax havens were a "bizarre anomaly".

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said people "would be outraged" by the scale of tax avoidance.

The premier of Bermuda said the investments were legal, and the UK bore ultimate responsibility for the rules.

On Sunday BBC Panorama broadcast the results of its year-long investigation into the Paradise Papers, a massive leak of financial documents from Bermuda-based law firm Appleby.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince criticised the government for not clamping down on offshore tax havens trading under the British flag.

Labour's John McDonnell said a public inquiry into the use of offshore tax havens was needed, as well as a new enforcement team in HM Revenue and Customs to tackle offshore investments.

"What this government is doing is dragging its feet on this... These [tax havens] are legal methods, that's why we need to change the law to make sure they comply with what we expect, which is for people to pay their taxes," he said.

Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy said constituents "struggling to make ends meet" had every right to be furious at the revelations.

"I am sick and tired of promises but no action - we are seeing tax avoidance on an industrial scale and it is the poorest who pay the price," he added.

The documents have raised questions over the investments of Conservative Party donor Lord Ashcroft, Everton FC owner Farhad Moshiri, and offshore investments made on the Queen's behalf by the Duchy of Lancaster.

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