“UK and territories are ‘greatest enabler’ of tax avoidance, study says”

u”The UK and its “corporate tax haven network” is by far the world’s greatest enabler of corporate tax avoidance, research has claimed.

British territories and dependencies made up four of the 10 places that have done the most to “proliferate corporate tax avoidance” on the corporate tax haven index.

The UK ranked 13th on the list, which was published by the Tax Justice Network on Tuesday.

The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, said the findings showed the government’s record on tax avoidance was “embarrassing and shameful”.

McDonnell added: “The only way the UK stands out internationally on tax is in leading a race to the bottom in creating tax loopholes and dismantling the tax systems of countries in the global south.

“The rot has to stop. While Tory leadership hopefuls promise tax giveaways for the rich, a Labour government will implement the most comprehensive plan ever seen in the UK to tackle tax avoidance and evasion.”

A government spokesman said tackling tax avoidance was a priority and the UK had “been at the forefront of international action to reform global tax rules”. …”


“Oxfordshire’s Housing and Growth deal at risk after local elections”

Well, not much chance of this here now so many Tories stull continue to have great influence over East Devon and Greater Exeter development:

“THERE is concern a major deal with Government could be scrapped if a council decides it does not want to take part.

All Oxfordshire councils signed up to the £215m Housing and Growth Deal and it was officially agreed in March 2018.

It provides £150m for infrastructure improvements, including to roads and railways, and £60m for affordable housing.

But there is concern within other authorities after the new coalition led by Liberal Democrats and Greens at South Oxfordshire District Council said they planned to review its Local Plan.

Sources within the councils have said there are worries the Government could pull out of the deal if it is delayed. It ripped up a similar plan in Manchester in March.

But Ian Hudspeth, the leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “We have got to wait and see what the councils say. It is entirely up to them but having £60m for affordable homes is a major issue to the councils. Losing that would be very upsetting for everyone.

“Everyone needs to be very careful about what they do and the consequences.”

When the Growth Deal was signed, the Government told the councils that they had to submit their Local Plans to an independent inspector by the start of April. They are outlines of where authorities plan to develop until the mid-2030s.

In South Oxfordshire, Lib Dems and Greens are opposed to the plan – although they appear to be against different parts.

It is understood the Greens would rather continue the project to build homes at Chalgrove Airfield and stop development on the Green Belt. But senior Lib Dem David Turner is wholly opposed to building on the airfield. He represents Chalgrove on the council.

Leigh Rawlins, SODC’s newly appointed cabinet member for planning, said the council would undertake a review over the Local Plan as part of ‘mature consideration’ following the election.

He said: “Clearly there has been a huge amount of concern about the Local Plan, the process and how it came together across the district.”

The uncertainty has left some residents furious, who are worried that Neighbourhood Plans they helped put together could be delayed or even scrapped as part of the Local Plan.

Justine Wood, who worked on East Hagbourne’s Neighbourhood Plan, said a delay to the Local Plan could mean speculative development.

She said: “There were 1,200 homes planned for East Hagbourne, which would have quadrupled the size of the village (through speculative development). It would have been catastrophic.

“But if they scrap the Local Plan they will get more than the 28,500 they are objecting to and they will have nothing they can do about it.”

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government cancelled a £68m deal for affordable housing with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA).

GMCA said it would build 227,200 homes until 2034/5 – but then later committed to just 201,000 homes.


“Regulator warns housing stock-owning local authorities of application of consumer standards”

“The Regulator of Social Housing has written to the chief executives of all housing stock-owning local authorities to remind them that the watchdog’s consumer standards – in particular in relation to the health and safety of occupants – apply to them.

The move follows a letter sent by the Regulator after the Grenfell Tower fire to all registered providers of social housing to remind them of their obligations for their tenants’safety under the Regulator of Social Housing’s Consumer standards.

Since that first letter, the watchdog has issued regulatory notices to two local authorities in respect of compliance with the Home Standard (which is one of the consumer standards), and specifically a range of health and safety requirements. …

MacGregor noted that that obligation remained with the local authority where it is the stock-owning body, even if the management has been contracted to another body such as an ALMO.

She then cited an extract from the original letter saying, amongst other things, that meeting health and safety obligations was a primary responsibility for registered providers, and that boards and councillors must ensure that they have proper oversight of all health and safety issues.

The first letter stressed that contracting out delivery of services did not contract out responsibility to meet the requirements of legislation or standards, so providers needed systems to give boards assurance of compliance.

It also said that should any provider find that they have systemic failings in relation to internal control of health and safety, which indicate that they were not in compliance with the Standard, based on the co-regulatory approach, the Regulator expected them to notify it as Regulator and resolve the issues immediately.

Ms MacGregor said her latest letter was “a reminder to local authorities that the consumer standards apply to them and that while we currently only consider information that is referred to us, this does not diminish the obligation on local authorities to comply with the standards.

“Currently, legislation only permits us to take enforcement action where there has been a breach of a consumer standard, and that breach has, or could, cause serious detriment to current or future tenants. As can be seen from our various Consumer Regulation Review publications, we most commonly find breach and serious detriment in relation to the Home Standard.”

She added: “You may wish to seek your own assurance that your authority is complying with the consumer standards.”