September 26, 2023

MPs launch bid to “close” Cayman

Pin It

John Cryer

A group of 27 British MPs have launched a motion to “close“ the Cayman Islands, calling it ‘a tax haven” and “a disgrace” that is “fuelling the world economic crisis”, and reducing living standards.

Primary mover of the “Early Day Motion” (EDM) John Cryer has been joined by five fellow sponsors, asking London “to introduce urgent legislation to help close tax havens and increase transparency”.

An EDM is a formal motion submitted to the House of Commons for debate, used chiefly, according to a Parliamentary website, “to draw attention to an event or cause”.

MPs yesterday expressed fresh support for the 20 January EDM, with one of the 27 signatories, Labour’s Steve Rotheram, saying he sought to remedy a fundamentally
unfair system.

“I stand by this [EDM]. I think it’s wrong if someone like Mitt Romney is using Cayman to avoid paying his fair share of taxes.

“I have 8.8% unemployment in my district,” The Liverpool MP told iNews Cayman, “and if people paid their fair share, it would help. I am concerned about the use of this, that the top 1% of citizens in the UK are guilty of using tax havens. It’s wrong.”

Willard Mitt Romney leads the race to lead the Republican party in November’s US presidential election, and has been accused of banking millions of dollars in Cayman, avoiding US taxes.

Mr Cryer echoed Mr Rotheram in a recent interview, saying it was “a disgrace that the Cayman Islands, a tax haven, can enable wealthy corporations and individuals such as Mitt Romney and others in the wealthiest 1% to avoid tax and still be cloaked in secrecy.”

Despite repeated telephone calls and emails, Labour MP Mr Cryer has failed to respond to any questions.

Both Cayman Finance Chairman Richard Coles and former Chairman and head of the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange Anthony Travers were unavailable for comment yesterday. However, the group’s London lobbyist until recently, Jack Irvine, dismissed the motion, saying it was unlikely to have much impact.

“This motion will go nowhere and it is signed by the usual lefties who hate the financial industry. Nobody takes it seriously,” he said.

Mr Cryer’s 150-word motion names the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the G20 group of industrialised nations, quoting their “identification of the role of tax havens by wealthy corporations in fuelling the global economic crisis from 2009 onwards”.

The Houses of Parliament in London

“This House,” his EDM says, was alarmed not only by Mr Romney, but also “is concerned about the continued use of tax havens by the top one per cent in the US and UK to avoid paying the correct tax in their own country.”

The motion “calls on the Government to introduce urgent legislation to help close tax havens and increase transparency so that the very rich pay their fair share of tax in their respective countries.”

Mr Rotheram acknowledged that Cayman had 27 Tax information Exchange Agreements and that individuals – not the Cayman Islands government — were responsible for their own tax payments, but said the UK should move to close “loopholes”.

“I agree it’s the responsibility of every citizen to pay, but we are calling for increased transparency. It’s about loopholes, and our government needs to look at what those loopholes are and close tax avoidance and evasion.

“It’s not just the law, but it is a moral duty, so we need to make things as difficult as possible for the less scrupulous and if we can pressure them, that will help.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Speak Your Mind