Molly has slammed the Treasury for refusing to meet a delegation of MEPs visiting London today to investigate the role played by British Overseas Territories and other ex-colonial territories in facilitating tax dodging.
The delegation are members of the Panama Papers Committee of Inquiry, set up in the wake of revelations contained in the offshore leaks, which include the Panama Papers and the Bahamas Leaks. They met with HMRC, the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and were joined by Meg Hillier, Chair, and Caroline Flint MP, of the Public Accounts Committee, but no government ministers attended the meeting. Molly said:
“We came to London to give British ministers and officials their chance to explain the central role played by the British Overseas Territories in the global network of tax avoidance revealed in the Panama Papers.
“Quite rightly, one of our witnesses described the link between the Overseas Territories and The City as indefensible. Apparently so, since there was no government representative there to defend it.
“The absence of ministers contrasts with a previous investigative session held in London last June, ahead of the referendum when David Gauke, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, spoke to us. This shows the government is going soft on cracking down on tax dodging post-Brexit.
“I will do everything I can to counter the threat made by the Prime Minister and Chancellor to turn the UK into Europe’s largest tax haven following our withdrawal from the European Union. This is why I have launched a petition calling on the government to halt the race to the bottom on corporation tax and work cooperatively on harmonising corporate tax rates across Europe.”