Labour calls on Westminster’s property industry to help tackle corruption
Westminster is a wonderful place to live, but for too long its reputation has been tarnished by its troubling role as one of the leading international centres for kleptocratic rulers and shady oligarchs to stash their ill-gotten cash.
This not only contributes to misery around the world by sustaining authoritarian regimes but has a direct impact here in Westminster.
The investment of enormous sums of dirty money in Westminster’s property market drives up house prices and property rents, taking them out of the reach of most local people. In too many parts of Westminster homes are being treated simply as assets, at best used occasionally as holiday homes and at worst left empty.
In a letter last week, Westminster Labour group have written to the Westminster Property Association, the representative body of Westminster’s property industry and major landowners, asking them to take action to help end this blight on our city. We look forward to their response.
Labour’s demanding action
Labour have asked for the WPA’s support in calling for action from the government to finally deliver a beneficial ownership register that will make clear who owns what in Westminster.
Labour has reaffirmed its commitment that, if elected, it would end any planning cooperation (other than that required in law) with developments who cannot confirm who owns them. We have also asked for action on improving compliance with anti-money laundering regulations.
Labour Group leader Cllr Adam Hug said:
“I’m proud of many things about Westminster, but it is a source of shame that the Westminster property market plays such a prominent role in international corruption. This not only sustains corrupt regimes abroad but leaves homes and properties empty or underused here in Westminster, sucking the life out of corners of our city and pricing out local people.
It’s long past time for action from the government, and it is vital that Westminster’s property sector supports the necessary change and takes steps of its own to tackle the problem.”