British property a "safe haven" for dirty money
John McDonnell, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, has condemned the government for deferring the introduction of a register of property in the face of 'overwhelming support' from the public.
Under current plans, the government has pledged to have a register, which would keep track of foreign companies who own property in Britain by 2021, but Labour have criticised the delays in implementation as 'inadequate'.
More than £122bn of property in England and Wales is owned by offshore firms, leading the National Crime Agency to warn that criminals were using the British property market as a way to launder the proceeds of crime from aborad.
Donald Toon, director of economic crime at the NCA said: “I believe the London property market has been skewed by laundered money. Prices are being artificially driven up by overseas criminals who want to sequester their assets here in the UK.”
McDonnell said: “As the Government continues to drag its heels and break promises on tackling money laundering, British property is being used as a safe haven for dirty money.
“Whilst any action to tackle financial crime is a step forward, Labour still hasn’t heard anything as why the implementation has been delayed and our calls for bringing forward the timetable have been consistently opposed.
“We have to stop crooks, criminals and the corrupt.
“The Government needs to stop stalling and start acting. It is now a matter of urgency that a register of property owning overseas companies is introduced.”