The shadow chancellor, Anneliese Dodds, is calling for the government to introduce a long-promised register of foreign owners of UK properties, to prevent criminals using homes as “dodgy bank accounts”.
Reports of suspected money laundering have more than doubled since David Cameron used a speech in Singapore in 2015 to pledge that there would be “no place for dirty money in Britain”.
The then prime minister promised a register of overseas companies owning UK properties, to make the market more transparent and prevent money from corruption being parked in lavish houses in central London.
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But the proposal is still awaiting implementation. A draft registration of overseas entities bill was published in 2018, but has not yet been introduced to parliament.
Dodds will use a speech to the Labour Housing Group on Saturday to highlight the party’s determination over the issue, and insist efforts to target money laundering should not be set aside because of the pandemic.
“We are at a fork in the road,” she is to say. “The Conservatives could choose to focus their energies so that people in this country have affordable, decent homes to live in. They could finally set up a register of overseas entities to flush out the criminals using our homes as dodgy bank accounts. In doing so, they could secure a quicker, fairer and more sustainable economic recovery from the crisis.
“Or they could choose to leave things as they are. Too few houses available to be homes-