Gordon Brown is planning to spearhead a global crackdown on offshore tax havens and tax evasion using offshore bank accounts. A tough ‘worldwide’ regulatory tax and banking system is the pipeline that aims to cover every country.
Speaking at a downing street press conference he said “We want the whole of the world to take action.
That will mean action against regulatory and tax havens in parts of the
world which have escaped the regulatory attention they need. The
changes we make will have to apply to all jurisdictions around the
While the US is more concerned about tax losses in the Cayman Islands, the tip of Brown’s lance appears to be aimed at Switzerland, and especially at individual tax avoiders in that country. The government claims that investigations into tax avoidance frequently led to Switzerland, but others may view the decision as rather more political.
Brown is shying away from attacking British tax havens and big business, instead focusing on easier targets such as rich people and foreigners. Targeting the island havens like Jersey or the Isle of Man would be attacking the cozy links he has developed with corporate UK over the past 10 years. He may also be wary of damaging the competitiveness of UK companies which is actively maintained by their low tax base.
Even so, its smacks of hypocrisy may well be a case of riding on the coat-tails of the UBS scandal to go for individual Swiss bank account holders in this way.