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We, and the public, rightly expect banks, and financial services firms more generally, to show a high degree of responsibility, the highest standards of corporate governance and to have an open, transparent and professional relationship with HMRC. When the Government have provided significant support to strengthen the financial system, it is right that measures are taken to introduce a higher level of public transparency. This will not happen overnight and we need to work with the banks and other stakeholders to achieve it.

This consultation is a starting point in changing the behaviour of banks in relation to tax avoidance. Over the coming months we will be speaking to banks to develop a shared understanding of where banks should draw the line, where we want them to raise and resolve issues with HMRC and to ascertain the appropriate level of accountability for behaviours at a senior level that they can achieve; and what they can expect from HMRC in return.

The consultation document can be found on HMRC's website at www.hmrc.gov.uk. A copy has also been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.

Taxation: Double Taxation

Statement

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): My right honourable friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Stephen Timms) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

A double taxation agreement with the State of Qatar was signed on 25 June 2009. The text of the agreement has been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and made available on HM Revenue and Customs' website. The text will be scheduled to a draft Order in Council and laid before the House of Commons in due course.

Veterinary Medicines Directorate

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): My honourable friend the Minister for Food, Farming and the Environment (Mr Jim Fitzpatrick) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The 2008-09 annual report and accounts for the Veterinary Medicines Directorate was laid before Parliament on 26 June.


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