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The United Kingdom government has withdrawn a piece of legislation that would have revoked the three-year extension given to British Overseas Territories (OTs) to implement what is known as public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