A Conservative peer has described David Cameron’s flagship G8 anti-tax avoidance initiative as a “purely political gesture” designed to head off European attempts to curb the City of London.
Lord Blencathra, the former Tory home office minister David Maclean, who was ennobled by David Cameron in 2011, told the government of the Cayman Islands last year that the prime minister’s bid to increase transparency at offshore tax havens was an attempt to distract the G8 and EU.
The frank statement emerges from a submission made by Maclean to a consultation on tax transparency in the Cayman Islands, written in February 2014. The letter was initially held privately by the Cayman government, but has since been made public.
Maclean started by describing the political context in 2013: “In the early part of last year, the Germans and others were pushing hard for a financial transaction tax, which would have severely hurt the City of London,” he wrote. “It was and is a top UK government priority to head that off. The French were pushing for ‘blacklists’ of jurisdictions with any tax regime lower than theirs. It was also a UK government objective to head that off.”