Labour leader Ed Miliband can be bold on offshore tax havens

Ed Miliband (‘I will not back down’ – Miliband, 7 February) does not have to be so tentative about tax havens in UK crown dependencies and British overseas territories (BOTs).

In BOTs such as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, executive authority is vested in the monarch and exercised on her behalf by the governor, who is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the British government. Defence and foreign affairs are carried out by the UK, which also has responsibility to ensure good government. UK governments have never hesitated to step in when necessary, and if any BOTs defy international order or the reasonable requirements of European governments, such intervention would clearly be justified.

The Channel Islands are crown dependencies, and the UK parliament has power to legislate for them. Again, British governments have stepped in where required for matters such as child protection – and tax avoidance by UK citizens must justify intervention if the local administration refuses transparency in its affairs.
Michael Ellman

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