BVI News

UK gov’t defers bill to revoke 3-year public register reprieve

A sitting of the UK parliament. (Photo by House of Commons)

By Davion Smith, BVI News Staff

The United Kingdom government has withdrawn a piece of legislation that would have revoked the three-year extension given to British Overseas Territories (OTs) to implement what is known as public registers of company beneficial ownership.

Britain’s government had given the BVI and other OTs up to the end of 2020 to implement the registers. They later pushed that deadline to 2023.

READ: What are public registers, how they affect BVI

Opposition members in UK parliament were essentially outraged by the pushback and subsequently prompted for amendments to be made to a piece of legislation called the Financial Services Bill. These amendments would have returned the deadline back to 2020.

That bill was to be brought before UK parliament for approval on Monday (March 4) and, by the looks of things, the majority of UK parliamentarians were going to support it.

But, before the bill was brought before parliament, the Prime Minister Theresa May-led government pulled it from the day’s proceedings.

Outrage

While this move might have been much to the relief of Overseas Territories such as the BVI, the move sparked even greater outrage from the UK opposition members — the ones who’ve pushed for the public registers from the very outset.

The main ring leader behind the bill, Dame Margaret Hodge, suggested on social media site Twitter that the UK government pulled the bill before it got to parliament because they knew it would have passed. If it had passed, that would have meant a “defeat” of the UK government who has been largely empathetic to the BVI’s fears about public registers.

British politician, Marget Hodge’s March 4 post on Twitter.

Meanwhile, any relief Overseas Territory’s might be feeling because of the bill’s withdrawal is expected to be shortlived. A media report from the BBC indicated that the bill will eventually have to return before parliament; and ‘soon’.

The UK government is cited in the BBC report as saying: “The government will not move the bill today (March 4) but will reschedule it to ensure that there is sufficient time for proper debate.”

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7 Comments

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  1. Political Observer (PO) says:

    It would be a big cause for celebration for the OT if PM Teresa May pulling the bill were permanent. It is a temporary reprieve of the inevitable. Dame Magaret Hodge is not going to let the issue rest. IMO PM Teresa May is skating on thin ice so she may only a partner for a likle while. Moreover, UK folks will look out for the UK (both the Opposition and Government). The UK is of the opinion that the UK is losing money from the success of the OTs financial sector.

  2. Are to Grind says:

    Can someone please check the lineage of Dame Magaret Hodge as a possible descendant of Author Hodge who seems to have an axe to grind with the OTs, especially BVI.

    • Rubber Duck says:

      Margaret Hodge is an Egyptian whose maiden name was Oppenheimer. Her family are billionaires who own metal trading companies. Many of those companies are based off shore with the main holding company based in Jersey. Hodge owns a large chunk of that company but exactly how much is hidden because of Jersey secrecy laws. Jersey and the other Channel Islands are of course exempted from the public register laws and Hodge has never attempted to have them included.

      Hodge is a left wing Gucci socialist and regarded by many as one of the greatest hypocrites in a Parliament full of them.

  3. @PoliticalObserver says:

    “The UK is of the opinion that the UK is losing money from the success of the OTs financial sector.”
    Everyone knows that money is being lost when people avoid paying tax in their home jurisdictions. It’s not an opinion, it’s a fact.
    And it is not just “the UK” – its the PEOPLE of the UK – who get less and less in return for their taxes (“austerity”) while the super wealthy just get more wealthy in front of their eyes, owning the buses, schools, hospitals etc etc used to belong to the tax payers.
    And let’s not pretend we don’t know that when money is stolen from banks and sovereign funds, pensions, aid donations and all the other cream that comes off a country’s pie – the people of that country lose out to the thieves, who use the BVI to clean their cash. This, again, is objective fact.
    The only ones that benefit directly are the already rich, the thieves and the corrupt – and of course the financial service industry, which defends this cocktail of legal and illegal as if it were the natural order, the glue that keeps the world together. It isn’t.
    It’s a construct that helps some people get very rich at the expense of the wider population. It’s taking the loopholes and looping them around the whole globe so that national laws are completely undermined.
    And we in the Christian BVI don’t care about our prominent role aiding and abetting these robberies. Why not?

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    • Jane says:

      @@Political Observer you may be right in your assessment but this should be an argument of “dont blame the player, blame the game”. Until the international community (USA: Delaware; UK: Jersey etc) all fall into line and all have the same requirements to have public ownership records then it is unjust to force powerless OTs like BVI to do so. The big boys like to dole this out, but they dont like to take their own medicine. Notice no-one is threatening the US with economic sanctions if they dont get their house in order, simply because, they’re too big to mess with. BVI is the unfortunate whipping boy in all of this, and its pretty shoddy to treat a small developing island territory in this way.

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    • clarity says:

      It is not the UK. it is Margaret Hodge and her gang.

  4. clarity says:

    Magaret Hodge who is pushing this bill is not part of the Government. She is a LABOUR MP who is seems to have an obsession with the OT. The fact is there is so much chaos and uncertainty with Britain’s withdrawal from the EU and the Labour Party’s own internal problems that has seen a number of their MP leaving the party among cries of antisemitism among other things that I wonder where Ms Hodge and her gang find time to focus on these tiny countries and her apparent quest to destroy their economies.

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