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The latest Government plans for a public register of who owns millions of UK companies were welcomed by Christian Aid on Monday (21 April) as a significant step towards ending the menace of phantom firms used by criminals.

But the charity also called on the Government to go further and ensure the UKs tax havens – the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies – follow its lead. The tax havens include the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and Jersey.

“While the details of the new register are still to be finalised, today’s announcement shows the Government is heading in the right direction,” said Joseph Stead, Christian Aid’s Senior Economic Justice Adviser.

“On key questions, such as ensuring that companies owners are identifiable, making the register open to the public and free to use, and putting strict limits on any exemptions, the Government appears to be moving towards the right answers,” he added.

Christian Aids comments come as the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills unveiled its latest thinking on how the UKs new public register of company owners should operate. Prime Minister David Cameron announced the creation of such a register last October. The UKs new register will require all individuals who control more than 25% of a company to declare details of how they exercise control over the company, as well as their full name, a contact address, month and year of birth, nationality and country of residence. While exemptions will be allowed, they will only be available in exceptional circumstances and will have to be applied for.

“Christian Aid, 17,000 of our supporters, and many others have been campaigning hard for this,” added Mr Stead. “We will not stop until we the register is up and running effectively but we are pleased that the Government appears to have listened to our arguments on how the tax evasion and corruption that phantom firms facilitate is costing developing countries vital resources for tackling poverty.

“The UK now has the opportunity to set a new gold standard on transparency of company ownership, that other countries should be encouraged to follow. While we are pleased the UK is talking about encouraging the EU and G20 to follow its lead, we are concerned that there is no talk about the UK’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.

“All of them have committed to having consultations on establishing similar public registers to the UK. Yet while the Prime Minister has written to the European Council calling for the EU to follow the UK’s lead, there has been no similar encouragement to the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.

“We are calling on the Government to use all powers and influence at their disposal to spread public registers around the world, including to the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies,” said Mr Stead.

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Christian Aid welcomes move against tax havens – urges UK to go further

Apr 232014



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Kyle Pomerleau on U.S. “Tax Freedom Day”
“Tax Freedom Day” is the day when the U.S. as a whole has earned enough money to pay off its total tax bill for the year. CCTV's Phillip Yin interviews Kyle …

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Remembering a prizefighter who fought for freedom
In the early 1960s Rubin Carter earned the nickname “Hurricane” as a middleweight boxer who knocked out 19 opponents. But in 1967 an all-white jury convicted…

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Pope Francis, In the Middle East and everywhere, freedom of
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Apr 232014

Wimbledon champion Andy Murray has said he is thrilled to be coming home ahead of receiving the freedom of Stirling and an honorary degree from the university where he trained as a boy.

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Freedom of the city for Murray

SALT LAKE CITY, April 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The Utah Freedom Memorial (www.utahfreedommemorial.org) today announced groundbreaking on a new Memorial designed to honor Utah's military heroes, veterans past, present and future, prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action, wounded or disabled and those that have paid the ultimate price for freedom. Utah native Adam Galvez who died in …

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Utah Freedom Memorial To Educate Utah Students and Honor Military Heroes Past, Present and Future

Farmers should have the right to milk a cow and sell a gallon of that milk to their neighbors, argue libertarian supporters of the food freedom movement. They should be able to slaughter and sell the meat of the livestock they raised directly to consumers.

Consumer advocates and Big Ag have fought successfully for years to keep strong federal and state regulations on the books to block such allowances, citing serious food safety concerns. But as buying local has become all the rage and concerns about industrialized agriculture more widespread, the right-leaning food freedom cause is gaining steam and increasingly finding allies on the left.

House legislation to legalize the interstate shipment of unpasteurized milk, which is illegal to sell in about half of the country, recently attracted more Democratic co-sponsors, including Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.). In years past, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) had few allies stand with him on the same issue.

(Also on POLITICO: Full agriculture policy coverage)

In another example of food freedom bipartisanship, Democratic Reps. Pingree and Peter Welch of Vermont teamed up with Republicans Steve Womack of Arkansas and Cory Gardner of Colorado to take on a regulation the FDA proposed under a 2011 food safety law that would impose new safety standards on spent grain, which brewers often donate or sell to livestock farms.

Small-scale producers have also had the support of Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), who gained major exemptions for them when the sweeping food safety overhaul was being considered in the Senate.

However, as the movement gains support inside and outside the Beltway, consumer advocates hope the trend to support small producers doesnt outweigh efforts to make food safer.

When you talk about food freedom and public health, you want food to be free of pathogens, said Chris Waldrop, director of the Food Policy Institute at the Consumer Federation of America. You have to be very careful in how you look at this and craft those proposals because it could mean putting consumers at risk in order to alleviate some regulatory burdens for local farmers.

(Also on POLITICO: Beer, cows and happy hour)

But supporters of the movement, including Rep. Thomas Massie, the Kentucky Republican who sponsored the two raw milk-related bills and is looking to take a leadership role in the food freedom movement, insist the food safety argument is moot because industrialized agriculture is causing more problems.

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Food Freedom cause grows with help



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StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty #26 – Zergification
Wings of Liberty is the first part of the StarCraft 2 trilogy, and the single-player campaign sets the stage well for what follows after. Join me and Jim Ray…

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