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Government to reveal foreign owners of UK property

Government to reveal foreign owners of UK property

Theresa May will set out a timetable to break the secrecy surrounding the foreign ownership of British property worth billions after facing a House of Lords defeat at the hands of two Conservative peers.

Lord Faulks, a former Tory justice minister, and Lord Hodgson have been calling on the government to establish a register exposing the beneficial owners of overseas companies and legal entities, and want it done within 12 months.

The peers put forward an amendment to the sanctions and anti-money-laundering bill, which would have been likely to inflict a government defeat on Wednesday.

Although ministers had provided reassurance on the issue previously, talk of a two-year consultation and no timetable raised fears of it being kicked into the long grass – spurring the potential Lords rebellion.

A government offer of a concession persuaded Faulks not to push the issue to a vote, although campaigners were critical of the government’s promised timetable.

They said a promise to table draft legislation by this summer, followed by the main bill a year later, would delay an operational register until 2021.

Rachel Davies Teka, Head of Advocacy at Transparency International UK, said: “Although I welcome a clear timetable being laid out, I am disappointed by the significant delay to primary legislation given the fact that the policy has cross-party support, and has already undergone two consultations. Read more.

The Guardian 

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