25 July 2016 - Commenting on MPs’ new report about British Home Stores, Christian Aid’s Toby Quantrill said: “MPs have today highlighted how UK tax havens’ involvement in the BHS affair served to obscure what was really happening within the ultimately doomed business, while also reducing much-needed UK tax revenue.
“As they stated, ‘Those [companies] registered offshore are subject to far less demanding tax and transparency requirements.’ Secrecy in jurisdictions controlled by the UK, such as the British Virgin Islands, has been identified as playing a role in what happened.”
Mr Quantrill, who is Principal Adviser on Economic Justice at Christian Aid, added: “The BHS scandal is only the latest example of how financial secrecy can harm vast numbers of ordinary people, both in the UK and in developing countries.
“The use of secrecy has been further illustrated today by the new revelations from the Panama Papers about the secret deals being facilitated across Africa via a network of offshore companies.
“Ending such poisonous secrecy should be an urgent priority for ministers, who should start by requiring public registers of companies’ real owners in all UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.”
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Notes to editors:
1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.
2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.
3. Christian Aid is a member of ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development.
4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire
5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk