Attempts led by Labour to close a loophole that allows offshore companies to avoid capital gains tax on UK properties were defeated on Tuesday with the help of St Albans MP Anne Main. Offshore companies are currently exempt from paying capital gains tax on the sale of UK commercial property. A new clause in the Finance Bill, tabled by Labour backbencher Stella Creasy and supported by the Labour front bench would have closed this loophole. This would have brought in six billions of pounds in tax revenue to help fund our struggling public services.
An investigation by Private Eye magazine revealed the huge amount of UK property held offshore. It shows St Albans is peppered with properties owned by companies registered in the Channel Islands, the British Virgin Islands and other tax havens. These include three commencial buildings with values in excess of ten million pounds each and large areas of rural land around the city.
When faced with the choice of voting with wealthy offshore businesses or with ordinary people in St Albans who depend on public services, Anne Main chose the few not the many. She has yet again shown that she will vote against the interests of her constituents and with her party at all costs.
St Albans Labour spokesperson Roma Mills said, “Surely it is time for the UK Government to close the loopholes in our system which allow tax avoidance on a grand scale. With the NHS cut to the bone and education and social care squeezed by budget cuts – this needs to be sorted out in the interests of our community.”