Tory MP Dominic Grieve further stoked outrage at government inaction over tax havens today, by claiming they had a duty towards “encouraging” off-shore banking in overseas British territories.
His comments were made to Radio 4’s Today programme in a debate over the leak of the Panama Papers, and the role played by the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in making tax avoidance easier.
The BVI are an overseas territory located in the Caribbean, and listed as among the top tax havens in the world in the Panama Papers leak.
The British government has the power to demand they stop offering a haven to British citizens, and citizens of other countries, so they can avoid paying tax.
But Dominic Grieve MP, speaking on the Today programme this morning, claimed this wouldn’t be right, because apparently it would hurt jobs there.
The fact that tax avoidance leads to job losses in Britain didn’t seem to bother him.
In the interview he claimed that if people wished to relocate to tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands, that is a “legitimate thing”.
If we’re going to destroy the economy of the British Virgin islands, which is because we prevent them from providing banking services at all, then we’re going to destroy the livelihood of its inhabitants.
So, for those reasons I think the government has a responsibility towards encouraging overseas terroritories to find legitimate ways of economic development, and the financial sector is undoubtedly such a legitimate method.
This is utterly staggering excuse for inaction.
BVI’s economy depends more on travel and tourism in fact, the opaque tax regime primarily benefits outsiders not local residents.
British Virgin Islands: number of people 28,000; number of registered companies 600,000. Nothing to see, move on please!?
— Bob Hudson (@Bob__Hudson) April 4, 2016
Listen to the whole interview here
The Tories are utterly shameless