George Osborne this morning raised hopes of an imminent G8 deal on a new tax “register” showing the ownership structure of companies, as I report on ft.com this morning.
The UK hopes to “lead the way” on transparency by creating a central register of company ownership – although it may only be available to the tax authorities rather than the general public.
By getting a deal on “beneficial ownership”, the chancellor – and prime minister David Cameron – hope to emerge from the G8 gathering in Northern Ireland with a tangible result on tax avoidance.
The Treasury is acutely aware that large numbers of the tax havens which have attracted global opprobrium are, ahem, governed from London. (The first minister of Anguilla, a tiny Caribbean haven, told me last week that he viewed the City of London as the biggest money-laundering centre in the world.)