Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  April 12, 2016 7:14am-9:01am EDT

7:14 am
and shadow chancellor, because they are people who are or wish to be responsible for the nation's finances. as for mp's, we already have robust rules on members' interests and their declaration and i believe that is the model we should continue to follow. we should think carefully before abandoning completely all taxpayer confidentiality in this house as some have suggested. if this were to come in for mp's, people would also ask for a similar approach for those who ask us questions, those who run large public services, or lead local government, or indeed come a those who edit newspaper and or newspapers. i think this would be a very good except for our country. it certainly shouldn't -- very big step for our country. it certainly shouldn't take place without long and thoughtful debate, and it is not the approach i would recommend. mr. speaker, let me deal specifically with the shares my wife and i help in an investment fund or unitrust set up by my late father. it was registered with the u.k.
7:15 am
inland revenue from the beginning, properly audited and in the annual return was omitted to inland revenue every year. the share price was listed in "the financial times." it wasn't a family trust, it was a commercial investment fund for any investor to buy units and get u.k. investors paid all the syntaxes as with any other share, including -- same taxes as with any other shukman included income tax. there have been some deeply hurtful and profound entry allegations made against my father -- profoundly untrue allegations made against my father. this investment fund was set up overseas in the first place because he was going to be trading predominantly in dollars security. like very many other commercial investment funds, it made sense to be set up inside one of the main centers of dollar trading. there are thousands of these investment funds, and many millions of people in britain who own shares, many of whom hold them through investment funds or unit trusts could such funds, including those listed outside the u.k., are included in the pension funds of local
7:16 am
government, most of britain's largest companies, and indeed even some trade unions could even a quick look shows that the bbc, the mirror group, " guardian" newspapers, and to random, havere let these sorts of overseas investments. example, iurther have a portfolio of over 50 million of investment in the trade union unitrust with 3% of their net assets based in jersey. this is not to criticize what they do. it is to make a point that this is an entirely standard practice , and it is not to avoid tax. mr. speaker, one of the countries leading tax lawyers has stated unequivocally that , "a was, and i quote perfectly normal type of collected investment fund." this is the man who led the expert study group that developed the general anti-abuse rules so much debated and demanded in this house which
7:17 am
parliament finally enacted in 2013. he also chairs the 1997 examination of tax avoidance of .hy the text review committee he has said that it would be, and i quote, "it wrong to describe the astonishment of such funds as tax avoidance," and further, that it would "be utterly ludicrous to suggest establishing or investing in such funds would be a piece of tax avoidance." the is why getting rid of trusts listed overseas has not been part of any labor policy review, any conservative policy review, or any sensible proposals for addressing tax evasion or aggressive tax avoidance. surely it is said that investors in these funds benefit from them being set up in jurisdictions with low or no taxes. again, this is a misunderstanding. unit trust do not exist to make profit for themselves but for the holders of the units , andndos holders pay tax
7:18 am
if they are u.k. citizens, they pay full you pay taxes. mr. speaker -- they pay full u.k. taxes. mr. speaker, it is right to tighten the line change the culture around investment and to discourage aggressive tax avoidance. but as we do so, we should differentiate between schemes designed it to artificially reduced tax and those that are encouraging investment. this is a government and the should be a country that believes in aspiration and wealth creation, so we should defend the right of every british citizen to make money lawfully. aspiration and wealth creation are not somehow dirty words. ofy are the key engines growth and prosperity in our country and we will always support those who want to own shares and make investments to support their families. some people have asked if this trust was legitimate, why did you sell your shares in january 2010? mr. speaker, i sold all the shares in my portfolio that year because i didn't want any issues about conflict of interest could
7:19 am
i do not want anyone to be able to suggest that as prime minister i have any other or vested interests. selling all my shows with the simple as the clearest way that i could do that. -- selling all my shares was this list includes weight that i could do that. the labour party has said it would refer me to the commissioner for parliamentary standards. i have already given her the relevant information and if there is more she believes i should say, i'm very happy to say it. i except all the criticisms were not responding more quickly to these issues last week. but as i said, i was angry about the way my father's memory was being produced. i know he was hard-working man and a wonderful that and i'm proud of everything he did to fill the business and provide for his family. mr. speaker, on the issue of inheritance task, there is an established system in this country. far from people being embarrassed about passing things to the children by wanting to
7:20 am
keep a family home within the family, i believe it is a natural human instinct and something that should be encouraged. as for parents passing money to their children while they are still alive, it is something the tax rules fully recognize that many parents want to help their children when they buy their first car and get a deposit for the first time, or face the cost of starting a family. it is entirely natural that parents should want to do these things, and again, it is something we should not just a fan, but we should probably support -- not just defend, but we should probably support. mr. speaker, let me turn to the panama papers and action this government is taking to do with aggressive tax avoidance and international corruption more broadly. mr. speaker, when this government came into office, there were foreigners not paying capital gains tax for selling the victims, there were private equity managers paying a lower rate of tax than the people who clean up the offices, and there were requires getting way without paying stamp duty because houses were envelope
7:21 am
within companies. we have put an end to all of these things. in the last parliament alone we made an unprecedented 40 tax changes to those loopholes that raised 12 billion pounds and in this parliament we will legislate more than 25 further measures forecast raised 16 billion pounds by 2021. nobody government, labor or conservative, has ever taken so much robust action in this area. through my chairmanship of the tax,ummit in 2013, i put trade, and transparency on the global agenda, and sought agreement on a global standard for the automatic exchange of information over who pays taxes and where. mr. speaker, many said it would never happen, but today 129 jurisdictions have committed to implement the international standards or exchange of tax information on request, and over 95 jurisdictions have committed to implementing the new global common reporting standards on tax transparency. under this new standard, we will receive information on accounts
7:22 am
of u.k. taxpayers in all these jurisdictions. in june of this year, mr. speaker, britain will become the first country in the g 20 two have a public register of beneficial ownership so everyone can really see who really owns and controls each company. this government is also consulting on requiring foreign companies that own property or bid on public contracts also to provide their beneficial ownership information, and we are happy to offer technical support and assistance to any of the administrations also considering these measures. as the revelations in the panama papers have made clear, we need to go even further. we are taking three additional measures to make it harder for people to hide the proceeds of corruption offshore, to make sure that those who smooth the way will know longer get away with it, and to investigate wrongdoing. assess countries that service financial centers. they have agreed to pervade
7:23 am
information automatically and will begin doing so the september. that had never happened before i became prime minister and i got around to the cabinet table and said to them this must happen. but we do need to go further. today i would like to tell the house that we have agreed that they will provide u.k. law enforcement and tax agencies with full access to information on the beneficial ownership of companies. we have finalized arrangements with all of them except and will a and guernsey, both of which we believe will follow in the coming days d months. for the first time, u.k. police and law enforcement will be able to see exactly who really owns and controls every company incorporated in these territories -- the cayman islands, british virgin islands, bermuda, isle of man, jersey, the lot. this is the result of a sustained campaign building on the progress we've made at the g-8 and i welcome the commitment of the governments of these territories to work with us and lament these arrangements. the house should note that this will place our overseas
7:24 am
territories and codefendant sees well ahead of similar jurisdictions but also, crucially, head of many of our major international partners, including some states in the united states of america. we will seek to go further still using our anticorruption summit to encourage consensus not just on exchanging information but actually on publishing information, putting it into the public domain, as we are doing here in the u.k., because we want everyone with a stake in fighting corruption, from a law enforcement, civil society, to the media, to be able to use this data and help us to root out and determine wrongdoing. another majortake step in dealing with those who facilitate corruption. under current legislation, it is difficult to prosecute a company that assists with tax evasion, we are going to change that. we will legislate this year for a new criminal offense to apply to corporations who failed to prevent their representatives from criminally facilitating tax evasion. finally, we are providing initial new funding of up to 10 million pounds for a new cross
7:25 am
agency task force to swiftly analyze all the information that has been made available in panama and take rapid action. mr. speaker, the task force would include analysts, compliance specialists, and investigators from across hmr see, the national crime agency, and the financial kind of authority. mr. speaker, this government will continue to lead the international agenda to crack down on tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. this battle is important and needs to become one with the approach we take in this country. low tax rates, but tax rates that people and businesses have to pay. that is how we will tackle these issues and build a strong economy that can fund the public services that we need. ,t is that strong economy creating jobs, rewarding aspiration, that is the true focus of this government, and some that would never be safe under the party opposite, and i commend this statement to the house. >> jeremy corbyn. >> thank you, mr. speaker,
7:26 am
and may i think the prime minister for his statement. it is absolutely a master class in the art of distraction. sure, mr. speaker, the prime minister will join me in welcoming the outstanding journalism that has gone into exposing the scandal of destructive global tax avoidance revealed by the panama papers. what they have driven home, mr.'s bigger is what many people have increasingly felt death mr. speaker, is what many people have increasingly filtered there is one rule for the superrich and another for the rest. i'm honestly not sure, mr. speaker, that the prime minister fully appreciates the anger that is out there over this injustice. how can it be right that street cleaners, teaching assistants, nurses work and pay their taxes, yet some of the top think the
7:27 am
rules simply don't apply to them? what has been revealed in the past week goes far beyond what the prime minister has called his private matters. there are six questions he needs to answer today, to the house and perhaps equally importantly, to the public as a whole. why he chose not to declare his offshore tax havens investments in the house of commons register of interest. there is a requirement to provide information of any security interest, which might reasonably be thought to influence his or her actions. the prime minister said he mishandled the events of the past week. does he now realize how he mishandled his own non-declaration six years ago when he decided not to register and offshore tax haven investment, from which he has personally benefited? secondly, can he clarified to
7:28 am
the house and the public when he sold his stake in blairmore holdings in 2010? he also divested another offshore investment at that time. integral, were any of the 72,000 pounds shares he sold health and offer tax havens -- in offshore tax havens? the ministerial code states that investors must ensure that no conflict arises or could reasonably be perceived to arise between the public duty and the private interest, financial or otherwise. and that all ministers must write a full list of all -- provide a full list of all interest which are thought to give rise to a conflict, including close family interests. did the prime minister provide the permanent secretary with an account of his offer interests? if not, did he realize he had a clear obligation to do so? part of his personal wealth was tied up in offshore tax havens. and he is now making policy
7:29 am
decisions that have a direct bearing on the operation -- for example, in 2013, the prime minister wrote to the president of the european council opposing oftral public registers beneficial ownership of offshore trusts. thirdly, does the prime minister now accept the transparency of beneficial ownership must be extended to offshore trusts? the panama-based law firm mossack fonseca registered more than 100,000 secret firms in the british virgin islands. mr. speaker, it is a scandal that u.k. overseas territories registered over half shell companies set up by mossack fonseca. the truth is that the u.k. is at the heart of the global tax avoidance industry. it is a national scandal and it has got to end. last year, mr. speaker, this
7:30 am
government opposed the eu tax of 30sioner's blacklists and corporate tax havens that blacklist included cayman islands and the british virgin islands. my fourth question is, will the prime minister now stop blocking the european commission plans for a blacklist of tax havens? the formert that conservative home office minister was absolutely right when he wrote to the cayman islands government in 2014 to reassure them that are prime minister was making a purely political gesture about cracking down on tax havens at the g-8. it was designed, he said, and i quote, "to be a false initiative which will divert other member states from pursuing their treasury" last june,
7:31 am
officials lobbied brussels not to take action against the tax secrecy. according to the european union's transparency register, the tech giant google has no fewer than 10 employees lobbying brussels. bermuda is the tax haven favored by google to channel billions in profits. and conservative mep's have been instructed on six occasions since the beginning of last year to vote against actions to clamp down on aggressive tax avoidance . this is a party incapable of taking serious internationally coordinated action to tackle tax dodging. across the country -- across the country and on the side of the house, mr. speaker, there is a thirst for decisive action against global tax avoidance scams.
7:32 am
to cut revenues out of our public services while ordinary taxpayers have to foot the bill. it undermines public trust in business politics -- business, politics, and public life. it can and must be brought to an end. the prime minister's announcement today about new measures to make companies liable for employees to facilitate tax cheating is welcome, but it is also too little, too late. in fact, it was announced by the former chief secretary of the treasury a year ago. people want a government that acts on behalf of those who pay their taxes, not those who dodge their taxes in offshore tax havens. yesterday, my friend the shadow chancellor set out a clear plan for transparency, and he is a haser of this house who spent all of his time in parliament exposing tax havens and tax avoidance. and his paper included calling for an immediate inquiry into the panama papers' revelations
7:33 am
to establish the harm done to our tax revenues and to bring forward serious proposals for reform. so i say gently to the prime minister, tax task force reporting to the chancellor and bothome secretaries, members of a party funded by donors implicated in the panama leaks, will neither be independent nor credible. so will the prime minister that a credible and independent public inquiry into the abuses of the leaks? our tax transparency plan also calls for specialized tax enforcement unit. properly resourced, mr. speaker, and that has to be the key. since 2010, there have only been 11 prosecutions over offshore tax evasion, situation the public accounts committee described as woefully inadequate.
7:34 am
shed resources and cut 14,000 staff since 2010, will the prime minister today guarantee that resourcing her majesty's revenue and customs will increase in this parliament? mr. speaker, we support real action to end the abuses that allow the wealthy to dodge the rules that the rest of us have to follow. we need to ensure that trust and fairness are restored to our tax system and our politics. realityense and the that there is one rule for the richest and another for everybody else. said tax minister has dodging is immoral, but he clearly failed to give a full account of his own involvement in offshore tax havens until this week, or to take essential or to take essential
7:35 am
action to clean up the system, while at the same time blocking wider efforts to do so. there are clear steps that can be taken to bring tax havens and tax launching -- >> the minister standing at the bar shrieking in an absurd manner, he must calm himself or leave the chamber. jeremy corbyn. mp corbyn: thank you, mr. speaker. i suggest, mr. speaker, the prime minister's record, particularly over the past week, shows the public note longer has the trust in him to deal with these matters. does he realize why people are so angry? does he realize -- do members realize why the blood so angry -- why people are so angry? we have gone through six use of crushing austerity. families lining up at food banks to feed their children. disabled people losing their benefits. elderly care cut and slashed.
7:36 am
living standards going down. much of this could have been avoided, if our country had been beend off -- had not ripped off by the superrich refusing to pay the taxes. i say this to the prime minister, mr. speaker, ordinary people in the country simply won't stand for this anymore. they want real justice, they want the wealthy to pay their share of tax like they pay when they work hard all the time. >> prime minister. pm cameron: thank you, mr. speaker. all, let me join the right honorable tillman in congratulating the journalists who broke the story in uncovering this huge cache of information in the panama papers. what is important is that the information is shared with tax authorities in the united kingdom so that action can be taken. the right honorable tillman accused me of distraction. i think the biggest distraction today has been waiting for the
7:37 am
right honorable gentleman's tax returns from which we finally 3:35ublished at about after the session had begun. how incredibly convenient that -- now,ould scrutinize let me answer each and every one of the questions that he said. first of all, he asked whether we would resource revenue and customs with the right amount of money. we have put 1.8 billion pounds into various initiatives since 2010 to make sure they have the resources to find this morning, first point. second point, he asked me about my register of members interested i've complied with every asked that of the british -- aspect of the register of members interest and even before partybor complaint arrived at the commissioner's door i provided her with all the necessary information. third question, he asked me when i made the sale of these shares. i sold the blairmore shares in
7:38 am
january and every thing else in june. next comes the asked if i had a list of these shares with the cabinet secretary. i difficult because i sold them but i sat down with the cabinet secretary, through all of my connectionsll my come all my family, as all ministers are devised to do, so you have a conversation with the cabinet secretary in that way. why were we not extending the beneficial ownership of companies and beneficial ownership of trust? the reason is we want international action to take -- we would not get any international action done. now he asks about the task forces where others will be investigating all the information coming out of panama. they have operational independence. if they find people to
7:39 am
prosecute, prosecute. operationally, and that is what they will do. they are reporting to the homes that rick perry because we want to -- home secretary because we want to make sure that action is taken. if the shadow chancellor questions this, he should not be doing that. let me answer the last question which is the action we've taken about overseas territories. no government has done more to encourage them to take part in exchanging information, reporting tax information, and making sure they give us the information on beneficial ownership. the leader of the labour party suggested we should force them. how is he going to force them? have we found a potential prime minister that wants to give falkland -- give the
7:40 am
islands back to argentina and it may gibraltar? what we have seen from the labour party is we have seen there to colors when it comes to inheritance tax. if you want to help your children, they will tax it. we have seen their true colors. they are the enemies of aspiration. that is the real lesson of today. i was going to call the chair of the select committee, but the general one -- gentleman is out of the chambers. get in here, man. [laughter] mr. speaker: order. i'm sure it will be worth waiting for. good for you to give
7:41 am
me the floor, mr. speaker. i do not think the prime minister has done anything wrong except possibly to comment on the jimmy -- tax evasion is illegal and should be vigorously pursued, if necessary, with criminal prosecution. is not -- if the government or permit do not like it, there is no point in moralizing. does the prime minister agree that to deal with taxes, we need to reform to close loopholes, -- to ensure there are fewer -- mr. cameron: i am glad that my friend was detained. tax evasion is illegal, and tax avoidance, if the government disproves it, should be legislated against.
7:42 am
what i have said before is that there are practices that are aggressive tax avoidance that merit proper questions and legislative actions. carr as soon jimmy -- hewas, pointed out made it clear to play triggered for doing that. i welcome the prime minister's statement, the new measures to deal with tax evasion. the publication of his tax information and the apology for the way he has handled it. it is estimated between 21 and aroundllion is untaxed the world. estimate is $10 trillion.
7:43 am
the panama papers leak is so large that if one -- the final document would be 650 million pages long. it is right that a special tax force has been set up to go to this information. as the prime minister said, hopefully charges will follow if criminality can be proven. the public are indignant here and around the world. byple are rightly angered the different rules for normal taxpayers and the small ultrarich a leak. we have to ask yourselves whether the scale of the problem has been taken seriously, because it has not been thus far, either domestically or internationally, and u.k. bears a responsibility given the u.k. and its overseas territories and ofendencies sit at the top
7:44 am
the top of the financial secrecy index of the tax justice network. in scotland, we are confronted why reality of a small number of aths owners owning huge sw of the country, many through tax havens. scotland, land is owned through transparent firms based theavens like panama and british virgin islands. may i ask the prime minister, decision notit his to fully cooperate with the european union partners on overseas trust? on the welcome register of beneficial owners across the british dependencies and overseas territories, specific question -- who will this be available to and when? will it be publicly available? and if not, why not?
7:45 am
will the prime minister prioritize bilateral tax treaties with panama and other tax havens as part of his global efforts to coordinate against tax avoidance, and will you update this house on progress? u.k.y, given it is the cabinet that agree government policy on tax rules, potential loopholes, and arrangements with tax havens, will the prime minister ensure all of his cabinet colleagues, all of them, confirm whether they have ever benefited through offshore financial dealings? mr. cameron: first of all, let me agree with the gentleman, that there is no doubt that there is some jurisdictions, there are bad things in happening in terms of hiding of assets, wealth, avoidance of tax, and that is why we want
7:46 am
authorities to go through everything they can to recover that money. because those bad things happen does not mean we should condemn ,rust that many investors pension funds, local government, maybe even the pension fund of this house might use as a totally legitimate way of investing and paying tax. i made that point. he says we need as many criminal charges as possible. i agree with that. -- and they got 1100 cases going through. they can charge up to 300% of the money. said have wehe taken this agenda far enough this is the. this is the first country to make this the number one issue. we have now done it and it is permanently on the agenda come and you see these permanent improvements. i do not think you are being a
7:47 am
fair on the overseas dependencies. real was a potentially problem. they have done a huge amount of address that. no better place than other similar jurisdictions, and there are states in the united states that have less disclosure than they do. let's not be unfair on dependencies and territories, especially on this side of the house where they are in our family of nations. in terms of scottish trusts and transparency, we are happy to work with and help the administrations in any way we can. we are happy to work with and are working with european partners on the issue of trust. we would not have made any progress on beneficial ownership if we included trusts in that debate in the g-8, but we made progress for the reason we give. in terms of beneficial ownership information in the territories, he asked who it would be available to. law enforcement agencies, including our own, and they are
7:48 am
not producing public registers yet. there is only about three countries in the world, including britain, that have these public ownership registries. if we tried to push that on the crime dependencies should away, we would not have gotten as far as we have gotten today in terms of tax treaties. in terms of cabinet ministers, i think the current rules for registering members are right. primeicates that minister's and chancellors are going forward. we are likely to use -- nexttax revenue over the five years because they will sue us in court against the european court of justice to overturn the with we wish to impose another $35 trillion at risk. what can we do here to make sure they pay their fair
7:49 am
amount? of cameron: we took a series actions in the budget, and there is a tremendous weapon for making sure these comedies pay their taxes in jurisdictions where they are rightly earning the money. this tool of being able to exchange tax permission and have a common reporting standard, which is what we set off in 2013, that will make the biggest m.p.: difference. of.:one of the main benefits uncovering the panama papers was they showed some like to some people who do not want it to go. the prime minister makes great play that his government has done a great deal to improve transparency, but is nowhere near enough. when is he going to make sure can publish their tax information so that everybody, the public, can see where taxes being paid?
7:50 am
i am not saying we have a perfect record, but this government has done more than any previous government -- but i will answer directly, our system is based on full disclosure by companies to the revenue, but a basic deal of taxpayer confidentiality between companies and the revenue. that is the way our system and most systems work. that is why the common reporting standards and exchange of information between jurisdictions is so important to make sure companies are telling the truth to us and other jurisdictions. it is only when that happens when we will be able to cover the money. -- to recover the money. m.p.: the beneficial ownership registry that comes in play in six weeks town -- the announcement that the prime minister has made with dependencies. it will do much to deal with tax evasion.
7:51 am
will forgive me, it will do more to ensure the proceeds of crime, the proceeds of terrorism, cannot be laundered through this jurisdiction, and that is something to be welcome. perhaps it should be told that the prime minister is the -- a little bit, which is this -- how do we know personally that we would not have gotten the agreement with the dependencies without his personal intervention and without him being very tough? they should be congratulated on that. it was actually delivered without a single shot being fired by the leader of the opposition. mr. cameron: what he will remember from his time in as he is doing a brilliant shot as my anticorruption lead, we got the crown dependencies and the territories around the table in the cabinet room. day as theame trooping of the color.
7:52 am
you do not have to go all the way to public thing -- publishing registers. he says that will mean not only aid, but greater ability to uncover corruption. mr. speaker: margaret -- m.p.: can i ask the prime minister some questions about the announcement in relationship to crime depends crown dependency. is it true that they have applied for registry of beneficial ownership? have access to that registry? if he does not succeed in getting this territories to
7:53 am
publish -- to publicly published those registers he will use his power through the privy council to order the tax basis to publish it? mr. cameron: there are three things we have been asking the crown dependencies to do. one is to exchange tax information. the second of had a common reporting standard. the third is to establish registries. they have done all three. we still need agreement from guernsey and from anguilla. the second question, well our revenue have access to the register? yes, they will. will we force them to have public registers? we think they should. let's be clear, very few countries in the world -- spain, britain, and one or two others -- have these public registers ownership.al
7:54 am
our dependencies will be now advanced of most other countries. we are to praise them and thank them for all they have done. the prime minister's critics set out in indignation and admit that they pay anyone who has a hint of wealth. may i support the prime minister in sending off those who are attacking him, particularly thinking of this place, because if he does not come we risk seeing a house of commons which is stuffed full of low achievers, who hated enterprise, a people who look after their own families, and do absolutely nothing about the outside world. mr. cameron: i'm grateful for my friend's support. we have a system of members' interest that is put in place at the end of 13 years at the end of a labor government.
7:55 am
i do not want us to discourage those people who have had a successful career coming into this house and making a contribution, and that is what i have said for prime minister's and chancellors, shadow prime minister's, shadow chancellors, it is a different arrangement. does the prime minister recalled at the time after he became prime minister under the coalition, at the time when he was dividing the nation between ask him and scroungers, a very important question about the windfall he received when he wrote off the mortgage of the ting hill,n not and i said he did not write off mortgage the taxpayers were asked to write off at oxford.
7:56 am
maybe he will answer it now. -- and by the way -- mr. speaker: order. order. order. i must ask the honorable gentleman order. any assistancee from -- i invite the honorable general month to withdrawal that adjective as he used a moment ago. he is perfectly capable of asking that question without using that word. it is up to him, but if he does not wish to withdraw in him, i cannot ask the prime minister to answer the question. we should withdraw that word and think of another. i think he knows the word beginning with d and ending with
7:57 am
used. he inappropriately withdraw. m.p.: i know what you're talking about -- mr. speaker: very simple -- withdraw. m.p.: this man has done more to divide this country than anybody else. he has looked after his own profits. i still refer to him as dodgy dave. do what you like. laboumr. speaker: order. i am sorry, i must ask the right honorable gentleman to withdraw the word -- very well, very well -- under the power given to me by i orderrder number 43,
7:58 am
the honorable member to withdraw immediately from the house or for the remainder of this day's sitting. very well. needless to say, no reply is required. we will take next sir edward lee. m.p.: it is a very shocking scandal. we now know that the problem is that are divested himself of all his shareholdings before he became prime minister and paid his taxes in full -- shocking shocking. ande is a windup question, it follows on that question from the chairman of the treasury committee. while hard-working families always use ways of trying to minimize that tax bill?
7:59 am
let me give him one suggestion. the better way to stop people avoiding paying inheritance tax is to abide by a commitment and abolish it. mr. cameron: we are grateful to my friend for his support, and we have met our manifesto commitment on inheritance tax, which was to exempt the family home. he is right we need to signify, but we need to move in different directions, which you need to submit my taxes, but where you see abuses occur, sometimes need to write new tax code in to make sure they cannot be used, and that can lead to complications. i think he is right. with the prime minister now answer questions that both he and the chancellor refuse to answer few years ago and confirm that they both benefited -- to the from their
8:00 am
top rate of tax, and on the day that the universal credit pass, that thethink several thousands of pounds of year in which they both benefited our fair? -- are fair? mr. cameron: the information is in my tax return. everybody can look at it. since we reduce the tax rate 45, we have not only raise more revenue, which we're not only raise, but the richest 1% are paying a higher overall percentage. m.p.: with my friend clarify again that tens of millions of our fellow citizens benefited .rom tax exempt investments in most pension schemes, they pay tax on their investment income. which directly benefits hard-working people saving for
8:01 am
and receiving pensions. mr. cameron: my friend is right about that, what i will .einforce the point many of those unit trusts are lifted in other countries. many of them now in dublin. they are set up to avoid tax but to make sure the revenues are returned to the unit trust holder and they pay taxes. that is the key point. m.p.: does he accept that the revelations last week that he personally intervened in 2013 to water down the effects of the rule does damage to portray his efforts? and would he not commit to fully support the eu transparency rule, including country by country reporting saying how
8:02 am
much profit they make and where? eu cameron: there were no proposals. the thing was based on a british proposal, a british initiative to encourage all countries to have registers of beneficial ownership. the eu joined in by suggesting extending it to trusts, and we pointed out if that happens, no .ne would take up this proposal of things, perfectly reasonable under english common law. the advice i have was that if we went through this proposal of going to beneficial puzzles, the move we would made that is helping to change the world with have failed. mr. speaker, with my friend encourage to write to him
8:03 am
to set out in detail the thegations he makes against matter of breaking the law or the rules of this house, because having listened carefully, i failed to comprehend what it is he is going on about. on a separate issue, i like to see my friend stand up to the overseas territories. as attorney that general i had quite a lot of dealings with the territories in encouraging them to change their rules. they showed them to be responsive to those representations. themay agree with me that territories are entitled to provide financial services and not be gamed for trying to ensure the well-being of their -- mr. cameron: my friend is absolutely right. what we try to do with the overseas territories is a there is a perfect a legitimate business of providing financial services, but they, like us, should be doing it on the basis
8:04 am
of high standards. i think that is an argument they accept and are carrying out and we should thank them for the. -- for them. i listened to the right honorable gentleman. m.p.: mr. speaker it could be forgiven for believing the only virtue is transparency. privacy and quality are both valueant virtues that we in this country. does the prime minister agreed decision-makers in pay probably through service companies if we principle, it is privacy? then we can have a more wide discussion. mr. cameron: i agree with you, that there is a value in privacy, and that is why you have to have this balance, and i
8:05 am
have tried to set up the way forward today. on his issue about private service companies, the chancellor will say something about that in the budget, and when public money is involved, there's a case to be made that people declare these arrangements in the proper way. the change the chancellor has been about is making sure whether someone chooses to have a private service company or chooses to be self-employed, the tax of they pay will be similar. i welcome the prime minister's announcement there will be a new criminal offense apply to corporations who failed to send their representatives to facilitate tax evasion. there are nearly 40 other economic crimes which are unlisted in the crime and court act of 2013 which are susceptible to deferred prosecution. will my friend have a discussion
8:06 am
to make sure that we cannot only have the tax offense that he is too to, but those other economic crimes so they can be dealt with under the failure to prevent system? mr. cameron: my friend has expertise in this area, and the point is making his we have to make sure is as we set out these homemic crimes, and secretary has led the charge to make sure we address this issue, we make sure they are properly understood and prosecuted, and we need to make sure the national crime and that court in a way that was being done when he had that job. minister he is leading on international efforts to crack down tax evasion, but could he explain what he wrote to the then european council president in 2016 and asked him ---- the transparency rules
8:07 am
of anti-money laundering rules despite warnings that it could create loopholes for tax dodgers? mr. cameron: with great respect to the honorable lady, i have answered this question several times, was recently to the leader of the green party, which is that we were keen to get progress on the beneficial ownership of companies, and if we accept the proposal to include trust, that would have gotten locked down and would not have made progress that we had, where we got every g-7 country, host g20 countries, signing up to have plans of beneficial ownership of countries. my advice was the whole thing would have slowed down to a trickle and we would not have gotten the extra money we are going to raise. concerned, its i is currently clear that the prime minister nor his father have done anything at all. in a statement he said, we must
8:08 am
defend the rights of every british citizen to -- laughlin. it is the various the description of people who have just done that as morally repugnant. in the prime minister give us a willise that he give us the role of law and that the rule of law is important to not question the morality of people who act lawfully with regard to their tax? mr. cameron: i am grateful for my friend's support, and i agree with the importance of people making money within the law. the simple point i have made and will continue to make government the tax evasion that is illegal, not tax avoidance. there are many ways people avoid taxation, not the least by putting money into a pension or preferably -- perfectly legitimate ways. i would say what we have seen sometimes is very aggressive
8:09 am
measures. i've mentioned some of them in my statement -- people putting properties in envelopes rather than paying stamp duty, where it is difficult for government to catch up quickly enough with the huge changes that are taking place. i think a bit of leeway on that is necessary, that he is right, it is the root of law that matters. m.p.: does the prime minister realized that the difference of the mass majority of constituents who paid their ands paid in the usual way, tax bids, the use tax havens for reasons. that is why the acquisition is made between them and those people that i have been referring to. mr. cameron: there is bad practice that takes place, not the least in some of these jurisdictions, that needs to be dealt with, and that is why that
8:10 am
sharing of information and registry of beneficial ownership are about. yet it things to recognize that happened last week is the the 11,000 pound personal allowance came in so people could learn 11,000 pounds before they take any income tax at all, and i completed our work of taking the lowest pay people out of the tax whole altogether. m.p.: mr. speaker, the premise or has paid his taxes, has behaved perfect properly, and can i commend him for standing repetition.ather's can i asked the premise or of how much extra money has come into the exchequer under the 13 years of labor government? mr. cameron: we have raised an extra 12 billion. we want to raise another 16 billion in this parliament. also for having a lower rate in corporation tax, we have seen more corporation tax come in,
8:11 am
tax rates that people pay, those are our watchwords. m.p.: we've heard the role of law is permanent. the government controls what is legal. and what is illegal. -- thatprime minister the law will make offshore tax dodging in all its forms illegal? mr. cameron: evading tax is already illegal, whether you are doing it in the u.k. or somewhere else. the point i have been making is we need to have this information sharing and the ability to look at information in jurisdictions in order to see if people have been evading tax, and that is what we are now getting. we should not use that to say it is wrong for people or trade unions or companies or pension schemes to invest in unit trusts list it in other countries, because that is a perfectly normal way of investing. m.p.: can i congratulate my
8:12 am
friend for bringing the transparency to the office of prime minister by publishing his own tax report. can he say if he has any thoughts about whether this should be extended to former prime minister some many of whom still receive public money i would be interested in seeing the tax codes of one mr. t. bla ir. mr. cameron: no proposals to make in that regard. i am not claiming some perfect record. i cut prime minister's paid by 5% and froze it for parliament. minister'se prime mr pension. we have given up the great gavee of state engine that half of your salary in perpetuity. i did it, right?
8:13 am
have beenthose steps taken, which are the right thing to do. thank you, mr. speaker. will the chancellor of the exchequer -- of his family company, which he holds shares in, but paid no u.k. corporation tax? mr. cameron: i would say the chancellor's family farm is exactly the sort of thatacturing small firm is doing carriage in our country. many years i gather they have not been making a profit, but i am glad the company is doing well and they are paying a dividend. that is something we should welcome. is ax matter of the-- m.p.: i would like to welcome the prime minister's statement
8:14 am
this afternoon, and when he meets with world leaders in london this may, the first global anticorruption summit of its kind, will you press them to bring actions to expose gretchen were ever do it -- wherever it exists? am writing in a document that will be released before the summit -- no country, politician, no one can claim they have a perfect and unblemished record in this regard. all countries are battling against these problems, as we did in this house with the problems of expenses. i want to encourage people in of prime minister afghanistan is contributing, the president of nigeria is contributing, and they admit their countries are rife with correction. the problem is that nobody stands up and talks about the issues and says about action plans, nothing will get done. at the last count, 36,364
8:15 am
properties in london were owned by offshore companies. that is one in 10 in one london borough. we should know who owns those properties. many believe it is dirty money from countries like russia and the middle east. driving up costs, 50's percent since 2007. mr. cameron: the first thing we have done is to say if a property is owned by a company, in an envelope structure, so you cannot get to the name of the person who owns the property, they have to pay an annual stamp duty charge of something like 15%. this has been a massive money raiser to spend on public services and a huge disincentive
8:16 am
for this sort of behavior. we need too further, have more information about who owns what in our country. speaker, can i think the prime minister for his creative statement. e-mail from a person in my constituency, said that he watched sky news yesterday, and he is -- that the shadow chancellor misled viewers and that he should be exposed in parliament. for that shadow chancellor to be so misleading is not acceptable. i am quoting here. motivations are obvious, but not an excuse. the prime minister could not have pay any inheritance tax if he wished to come and taxes levied on the -- mr. speaker: order, order. i am grateful to the honorable lady, and this has nothing to do
8:17 am
with responsibility of the prime minister. order. not a wise course of action. the prime minister is not responsible for what the shadow chancellor has said. i say that to the honorable lady kindly, but with some authority in these matters, believe me. no one in the house should have to feel their family members are being attacked unfairly, and in fact the premise or is absolutely correct. it is not clear to me what he believed about holding shares in offshore trusts in tax havens. does he think it is probably ok? in which case, why with his holding them be a conflict of interest? does he think tax havens are a problem that need fixing? in which case, why kitty have them in the first place? mr. cameron: do i think it is ok to own shares in a unit trust
8:18 am
that is registered in another country, whether that is in dublin or guernsey? why, i do, and that is companies hold those shares, pension funds, many people in our country cold unit trusts, because the key point is the unit trust does not exist to make money for itself. it makes money for the unit holders, and if the unit holders live in britain, they pay british tax and all the rest of it. that is why these arrangements have been in place for many years. the labor government, no labor policy review has ever thought of getting rid of them. it is important they are administered in a proper way. the second question is, why if i thought the resulting wrong with the holding like that did i sell my shares because there might be confident of interests? i sold shares in every company i own. there were two options -- to put things in a blind trust, nothing wrong with that, very good way
8:19 am
to go about it, but i thought maybe even simpler or straightforward was sell everything so then i would not own any shares, and any of the companies that i have previously had a shareholder in had dealings with the government. there was no way to find any conflict of and just. that is why i sold the shares. i thought it was the right thing to do. m.p.: with the prime minister confirm the only irregular thing about the summary of his tax return is the fact that he voluntarily and privately forsook the 20,000 pound prime ial allows, heluding those -- that focused on increasing the personal allowance so that millions of low-income owners could avoid paying tax altogether? mr. cameron: i am grateful to give my friend that reassurance. 0 pounde target of 12,50
8:20 am
personal allowance, and it was the right thing. as it says in the information, there is support for me and my wife from the conservative party in terms of some of the costs and issues of travel and other things you have to do with as the leader of the party. party money on which i pay a tax charge. m.p.: is it the right thing to do to be claiming expenses to favorn the grace and apartment and at the same time making a big profit on your own main home? mr. cameron: i am baffled he said he was going to refer this to the parliamentary commission. was all the information -- he is not actually made it.
8:21 am
i am very lucky to live in number 10 downing street, precise a, number 11 and 12, and as result of that, i receive a benefit in kind, and because of that, calculated that i think some 7000 pounds -- i pay a tax on that for living in the house. it is not a subsidy i am getting. it is a benefit that i am grateful for. and i give the tax man his money in that respect. m.p.: may i tell the prime minister should not be saying he has the good fortune to be born into a well-off family, he is nothing to be ashamed about. may i tell the prime minister is not a sin for his parents naturally to want his savings to be cascaded down to the generations. he has nothing to be ashamed of. but can i warn my right honorable friend, no matter how much information he wants to die
8:22 am
vaults, nothing will satisfy some of those people on the labour front. mr. cameron: i am grateful to what my friend said. there's a point at which you have to say i publish the information that i think is relevant, i have gone back over , but that isyears the limit of what i am going to release. some people say, what about your wife's or your mother's financial affairs? there comes a time when prime minister's and chancellors have done more than that, but we should rely on the register members' interest to police rest of our affairs. m.p.: given that more than half of that companies implicated in the leaks are registered in crown dependencies, does the prime minister regret telling this house and 2013 it is not fair any longer to refer to any of the overseas territories or crown dependencies as tax
8:23 am
havens? clicky rebuild some of the public trust he is lost in the last week by making sure that in terms of publishing information about beneficial ownership, the crown dependencies and overseas territories do follow the u.k. example and will take concrete example? i haveeron: the reason made that statement in 2013 is we had got the crown dependencies and the overseas territories for the first time to share automatically tax information with united kingdom government. that is something that did not labourunder the last government. now he is right we want to go for the. not only will they share the information, they will give us access to their information of beneficial ownership. just so he knows how different things were under the last financial, that then
8:24 am
secretary of the treasury, in response to questions about the territories, said the negotiation of tax information exchange agreements with other jurisdictions, including the u.k., is a matter for the crown dependencies themselves. he was saying nothing to do with me, gov. it is up to them. that is the government we replaced. we took a different approach, and we are made a lot of progress. --.: mr. speaker [indiscernible] i would have done exactly the same. his father did nothing wrong whatsoever. ae prime minister mentioned debate will come. can i say that when public figures get into trouble, that in the future there are no more knee-jerk reactions, that a long and thoughtful debate is to avoid unnecessary consequences for everybody else. mr. cameron: i think my
8:25 am
friend makes an important point which is we should try to make decisions about these things call may after debate. i felt after all the questions i to publishsked was this information. i could not be clearer that i do not want to see that as some every member of this cabinet should follow. we have always had a system in this country based on full disclosure to the revenue, and taxpayer confidentiality. some other countries have complete location of all caps returns and information. has not been our way. that has not been our system. we should not give it up lightly. m.p.: [indiscernible] if the were not a millionaire he would be a low achiever. speaking of the low achiever, the biggest multinational company earns more income in a single week than all the
8:26 am
-- putd companies of the together. that is why we want to make sure that the information that multinationals will be obliged to provide to hmrc should be put in the public domain. well he meet desk will he meet with me to discuss this proposal? mr. cameron: i have always thought of the lady as a high achiever. the country to country reporting is what we are trying to achieve is a common reporting standards so that companies report to tax authorities in the same way and then the sharing of that information so you can see if x amount is paying x in one jurisdiction and y in
8:27 am
another. that is the most powerful way of achieving what we want to achieve. there are those who say we need to go further in public declarations. care interesting argument. let's not make an enemy of the good. we have a solid way of making sure these comedies pay tax properly, and i want to make sure that is completed. does my right honorable friend agree that any course of action designed to reduce tax does not constitute tax evasion must by definition be legal even if some may regard it as aggressive tax avoidance? and it is up to this parliament to legislate to make such courses of action illegal? mr. cameron: my friend is right, where there is aggressive avoidance taking place that is against the spirit of the law, then parliament should act. as i have said, that is what the chancellor has done what hmrc advises us about. i think sometimes there are occasions when the avoidance is
8:28 am
so aggressive that it is right to warn those taking part of it that legislation will follow, and so they should not take part in the scheme in the first place. that should happen, too. will he be issuing guidance in the form of a leaflet to every household soap taxpayers can you how they can benefit from offshore tax havens? mr. cameron: there are many people in our country, over 12.5 million shareholders, many of whom hold shares in things like unit trusts that do not need information from me. those,invest in one of if you are u.k. reston, you must pay u.k. taxes just like you are share in any other organization. m.p.: i cannot find an occasion
8:29 am
where the members raised any of these issues. the closest he came was when he ourcribed the lab government to take control of the turks and caicos islands as medial and undemocratic. apparently he now advocates for all territories. isn't it fortunate that we had a government after 20 that took up this agenda? mr. cameron: i am interested to see the u-turn, because recently he has been stressing taking control of these territories. i can now see a use for the nuclear submarines as they had man.oward the isle of much more sensible to get them to do the things they ought to be doing. m.p.: why does the prime minister think so many companies are registered in panama in the first place?
8:30 am
why not london or new york? mr. cameron: the reason why unit trusts restaurant in different countries, and a number of that registeringght now, in dublin, they want to market their services not simply to u.k. residents who pay u.k. taxes, but other people. that is why if you look at the inland revenue that way they arrange this, they want to make sure that u.k. fund managers can be involved and paid her taxes in the u.k., we can build the investment industry, that this country can rightly be proud of. m.p.: i think my friend for his open and frank statement today. person with think he has exonerated himself. thate confirm under rules reports for documentation should
8:31 am
be retained for seven years? for having: no fine come to the house for having published them. although disappointed we got it in at 3:45. obviously, matters of fines of taxproductions of returns, that is a matter forhmrc. in 2013 -- was found guilty of an egregious breach of the commons rules and the house of lords rules as to misleading in 2011 andrequired taking 10,000 pounds a month as a payment for lobbying for the cayman islands. he had no punishment from his party. he was allowed to get away with it with a brief apology to the house of lords. will the prime minister tell us if in the future any parliamentarian in his party
8:32 am
uses his privileged position and prostitutes it in order to make private gain, he will act and discipline him? mr. cameron: the point is we have now roles in this desperate the declaration of members police in we have a terms of making sure they are properly carried out, and we have a punishment, including expulsion, for misbehavior. familiar with the situation with the house of lords, but i think they have been moving in the same direction, and that is all for the good. m.p.: the conversations around popemobile are interesting -- around panama are interesting, we have a reality check here. [indiscernible] actually benefit from inheritance as a result. does my friend agree with me that the time is now to reform
8:33 am
inheritance tax to help more people get out of the poverty level? mr. cameron: there is a role for making sure that people can pass on the family home exempt from inheritance taxes, and that is why we have set out steps to make sure that it happened. that completes what was set out in our manifesto. the public will be more inclined to take the prime minister at his word when he was to clamp down on tax avoidance and his government not appointed edward -- as the chair of her majesty's revenue in 2012. this is the way that taxation is legalized extortion, and it is not the only extent of the law. can you promise what source of and doesgot to pay -- someone in his view blog in the hmrc? mr. cameron: a does a very good
8:34 am
job, as i think the report in the papers point out. athad a commercial career one of the most respected city legal practices there is, and it is a good thing if we can attract people from private practice into the revenue at customs to make sure we collect all the money we should. can the prime minister assured house that in the future -- taxation will do nothing to diminish the aspiration of working families so that those families who want to do the right thing, save for their retirement, and passed something on to their children can continue to do that? mr. cameron: my friend is right. if you look at our reforms to inheritance tax, tensions, we are enabled people to spend more of their money. they are also able to pass it on to their children and help with those key purchases, the first home, first car, hoping young people with families. all of that wealth cascading
8:35 am
down the generations is actually part of our goal. m.p.: of course, the prime minister's announcement that people be criminalized if they persist with tax evasions. revisit prime minister to see if they can also play a significant role in dealing with her difficult issue of tax evasion -- dealing with the difficult issue of tax evasion? mr. cameron: it is true the coalition government did a lot in this area. it was led by myself and the second order of the treasury, but particularly at the g-eight, but we had the full support of our coalition partners. friend'sant my statement today and i listen to
8:36 am
the statement of the leader of the option. does the prime minister share my concern that the leader of the opposition seems to be unaware that the aspiration, determination, and process support ournancial ingredients of a strong economy we have, which leads to jobs and income for many? does my friend agree we should condemn the politics of envy -- [indiscernible] mr. cameron: my friend is right. what we want is an aspiration and enterprise society where we set low tax rates, encourage people to make the best of themselves and for their families, and that would will not just a stronger economy, what a stronger society. m.p.: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, the prime minister referred to his anticorruption summits. can he tell us which countries will be represented, and will an invitation be extended to either
8:37 am
president putin or some of his corrupt cronies, those who fund the propaganda channel to explain the $2 billion held in panama by the corrupt regime? mr. cameron: the gentleman has been restored to rude health. i welcome 1d him earlier. i think it is fair to say the guest list is still being worked on for the corruption summit. we will be asking people on the basis not that they run perfect countries or perfect governments, but are they going to commit to public declarations of things like open beneficial ownership registration, sharing tax information, making sure that when assets are looted that we can confiscate them and restore them to the people who they belong to? if countries want to sign up to that, however much how their
8:38 am
record in the past might be them imperfect, we encourage them to do that. minister'sthe prime mother, she wants to hand that money down to her next generation. could the prime minister tell the house what message we can send i am very grateful. i am my mother will be to. thicker skinping a with every week because past. many people want to pass wealth and assets and help their children. that is not something that we should be ashamed of. it is something that we should actively encouraged. it is something that we can build a strong society in our country. >> the prime minister
8:39 am
acknowledge in his statement that the undercurrent education is difficult to prosecute companies with tax evasion. add fraud and corruption to that list. extendernment wanted to to all, not just a tax evasion. with the prime minister commit today to review the current position. that is a very interesting suggestion. i will look at it carefully. we have announced this proposal. we will include this in a future bill. we can look at that time about whether what she is arguing for is an extension and tidying up.
8:40 am
8:41 am
8:42 am
8:43 am
8:44 am
8:45 am
8:46 am
8:47 am
8:48 am
8:49 am
8:50 am
8:51 am
8:52 am
..
8:53 am
8:54 am
8:55 am
8:56 am
8:57 am
8:58 am
8:59 am
captioning performed by vitac
9:00 am
>> we coordinate with them, we integrate our teams with their teams, and we work to increase our ability to understand what might be happening out there, understand the threats and the vulnerabilities and then share that information in a way that allows us to deploy our resources most effectively. >> yesterday homeland security secretary johnson endorsed a new proposal by senate democrats to double the number of visibility intermodal prevention and response or vipr teams nationwide from 30 to 60. by contrast the president's fiscal 2016 budget request called for the elimination of two vipr teams and 23 related positions. in your written testimony you wrote the tsa

6 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on