Kirkcaldy MP Roger Mullin has welcomed a review over limited partnerships.
He hailed a U-turn by the Government, announced today, as ‘‘a welcome first step.’’
Mr Mullin has been campaigning, along with Oxfam Scotland, to get action on the Scottish Limited Partnerships (SLPs) which are often linked to criminal activity and tax evasion.
They are a vehicle for business registration that have their own legal personality, anonymity of ownership, and lax reporting restrictions.
SLPs that operate in the UK do not have to pay tax or file accounts.
While some are used for legitimate business purposes, many are linked to widespread and damaging criminal networks, and the MP noted an increase in the number being registered – there are around 25,000 logged at Companies House.
The SNP attempted to introduce a new clause into the Finance Bill in August, calling on the UK government to investigate SLPs, but the amendment was voted down.
They kept up the pressure, and Angus Robertson MP, SNP Westminster Leader, raised the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions in November.
The UK government has now agreed to undertake a review which will include Scottish Limited Partnerships (SLPs).
Mr Mullin welcomed the decision.
He said: ‘‘This change of heart from the UK government is a step in the right direction, and a victory for the SNP and all those who have campaigned on this issue.
“We know that the links between SLPs and criminality pose a threat to combatting organised crime. Understanding the scope, scale and extent of the criminal links with SLPs is the only way in which we can move forward to a practical and effective solution.
“While we are pleased with today’s development, it is merely the first step. The SNP will submit a series of new clauses to the upcoming Criminal Finance Bill, which will aim to hold the UK Government to account on their commitment to shine light into this murky world, and deliver on their promise.”