David Cameron appeals to Canadian PM Stephen Harper not to block plans to crack down on tax evasion

PM seeks support before G8 summit for global deal to create registers of company ownership 

David Cameron has appealed to Stephen Harper, the Canadian Prime Minister, not to scupper an agreement at next week’s G8 summit on plans for a global crackdown on secret companies used for money laundering, tax evasion and terrorist activity.

But after talks in Downing Street last night it was doubtful whether Canada would back Mr Cameron’s “full disclosure” plan for the eight leading economies to create registers of who controls and owns every company based in their country. The “beneficial ownership” registers are seen as a vital component in a drive against global tax evasion, which will top the agenda when the G8 leaders meet in Northern Ireland on Monday and Tuesday.

In a statement after the talks, Downing Street said Mr Cameron and Mr Harper agreed that the G8 “should make progress on transparency”. However, the Canadian government still has concerns about a register being open to the public because of rules on taxpayer confidentiality and because under its federal system states play a role in tax decisions.

The US and Russia also have doubts about public registers. Mr Cameron may have to settle for a Plan B, under which the G8 nations would set up private registers that could be accessed only by tax and law enforcement authorities. It is not certain Canada would agree to that. Aid agencies say private registers would be second best because it would be harder for the world’s poorest countries to track individuals and businesses avoiding tax in their nations who hide behind anonymous “shell companies.”

Mr Cameron will make a similar plea to support public disclosure to Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, in talks at No 10 on Sunday, and to President Barack Obama before the summit gets under way on Monday.

Bermuda suggested it might sign up to a global tax information sharing scheme when the 10 British overseas territories and crown dependencies seen as tax havens meet Mr Cameron for talks in London tomorrow.

Craig Cannonier, Bermuda’s Prime Minister, appeared to contradict his earlier remarks by saying his country was “strongly committed” to joining the multilateral convention on tax.

“Bermuda is a well-regulated jurisdiction and has always been at the forefront of international efforts to fight tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance,” he said. British officials hope all 10 tax havens will now sign up, giving Mr Cameron’s drive against tax avoidance a pre-summit boost.

Today Mr Cameron will announce that the Government will mark its chairmanship of the G8 club by putting £1m into a “prize fund” for a global challenge to identify and solve the biggest problem of our time. A Downing Street source said: “We want people to think big; what does the world need and how can we achieve that? We are looking for the next penicillin, aeroplane or World Wide Web. Can we grow limbs or create universal low carbon travel? Something that is going to really revolutionise what we do and how we live our lives – sending us sprinting ahead in the global race.”

Mr Cameron will tell a G8 Innovation Conference in London: “We’ve all got to open up our economies to innovation; we’ve got to nurture new ideas [and] attract the best and the brightest. A global race is under way and it is waiting for absolutely no one.”

Three people were arrested for trespass during a protest against Canada’s extraction of oil from its tar sands as Mr Harper addressed both Houses of Parliament.

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Life and Style
The spring/summer 2015 Louis Vuitton show for Paris Fashion Week
fashion
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?