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UK PM tells Overseas Territories it is a moment to ‘get our houses in order’

Bermuda and other British territories have come under pressure from UK Prime Minister David Cameron to “take the lead” on tax information exchange and beneficial ownership.

Mr Cameron wrote yesterday to the Island, along with the rest of Britain’s Overseas Territories and Crown dependencies such as Guernsey and the Isle of Man.

The call for continued partnership with the UK came just weeks before Britain hosts the G8 Summit on June 15.

With tax avoidance a priority for the gathering, Mr Cameron wrote, “this is the critical moment to get our own houses in order”.

Last month’s visit by UK Minister for the Overseas Territories Mark Simmons saw Cabinet vow that Bermuda would “lead jurisdictions” in transparency, and enforcing beneficial ownership regulations.

Mr Cameron’s letter underscored the point, however — especially on the latter.

Noting that some jurisdictions had committed to producing action plans on beneficial ownership, the Prime Minister added: “I hope those of you who have yet to can do so as quickly as possible”.

The letter, which didn’t specifically single out by name any of the 10 territories to which it was addressed, emphasised Mr Cameron’s respect for their right to be “lower tax jurisdictions”.

Bermuda has already pledged to provide the UK authorities with tax information automatically.

“There is a critical mass building,” Mr Cameron wrote, saying Britain aimed to set “a global standard in tax transparency”.

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Published May 21, 2013 at 9:23 am (Updated May 21, 2013 at 9:23 am)

UK PM tells Overseas Territories it is a moment to ‘get our houses in order’

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