Senior members of the APPG on Anti-Corruption and the APPG on Responsible Taxation have called on the Prime Minister to commit to his pledge to “lead by example” and clarify his policies to combat tax evasion and corruption.
On Tuesday 3 May the Groups secured a parliamentary debate to consider the Anti-Corruption Summit to and compel Cabinet Office Ministers to set out their ambitions. As no details of the summit agenda or attendees have yet been made available to Parliament, this debate pushed the Government to reveal what will be negotiated next month.
APPG on Responsible Tax chair, Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge MP has said:
“The government seems to be all talk and no action. I sincerely hope that this half hearted approach to tackling tax evasion and corruption does not set the precedent for the entire summit.
“It is ironic that an Anti-Corruption Summit lacks transparency. We therefore feel it is appropriate for the agenda and attendees to be publicised. We hope that this debate will encourage the Prime Minister to open up the lines of communication with the public.”
Co-chair of APPG on Anti-Corruption, Catherine McKinnell MP added:
“The upcoming international anti-corruption summit presents an extraordinary and rare opportunity for world leaders, business and civil society to agree on specific, concrete steps to advance the fight against all forms of corruption.
With so little known so far about the summit, today’s debate provides a vital opportunity for Parliamentarians to understand how ministers will make good on their promises to tackle financial crime, corruption in sport and corporate secrecy.
Given the Prime Minister has pledged to ‘lead by example’, I have been clear that UK law needs reforming so that corporates can be held criminally liable for acts of economic crime such as fraud or money laundering.
Our law enforcement agencies agree this is a necessary tool to effectively tackle corruption, and I will be pressing ministers on this today.”
APPG on Anti-Corruption co-chair, Nigel Mills MP added:
“As the Prime Minister said last year, “corruption is one of the greatest enemies of progress in our time”: bribes, tax evasion, and grand corruption destabilise development, keep vulnerable people in poverty, add significantly to the cost of doing business, and fund terror.
Action to force a global step-change is vital, and it is right for the UK to take the lead at the Prime Minister’s International Anti-Corruption Summit.
However, the Summit will only succeed if we robustly address money-laundering in the City of London and secure commitments from the British Overseas Territories to introduce public registers of beneficial ownership to strip companies of the secrecy that allows them to hide the proceeds of crime and corruption offshore.
This debate will drive home the importance of getting our backyard in order if we are to be a credible leader on international anti-corruption on 12 May.”
This debate follows an open letter to the Prime Minister, which was jointly written by the APPGs. The letter urged the Prime Minister to ensure the participation of the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies in the Summit and encouraged him re-double his efforts to persuade the jurisdictions to adopt public registers of beneficial ownership.