// American candy shops on Oxford Street to face more stringent procedures by Westminster City Council
// Westminster Council is investigating 30 candy shops for alleged business rate evasion of £7.9m
The American candy stores that have opened along London’s Oxford Street are set to face stricter rules after Westminster City Council revealed plans to tackle those it believes are not paying tax.
Westminster Council is currently investigating 30 US-style candy shops for alleged business rate evasion of £7.9 million.
Council leader Adam Hug said: “The people selling overpriced and often out-of-date sweets are cheating the UK taxpayer and very often swindling their customers into the bargain.”
Concerns that shops are being used as hub for “dirty money” come as a report from the Centre for Public Data found the Westminster area had seen a 1,200% rise in the number of property owners registered to Russia and a 300% rise in owners registered in Jersey, since 2010.
Measures proposed include increasing the fee to register a company at Companies House from £12 to £50, introducing more identity checks and tightening UK procurement laws to restrict the artificial use of tax havens and low-tax jurisdictions.
Hug added: “Westminster’s dirty secret has been known for many years but those in power looked the other way for too long as money of questionable origin flooding into London and investors took advantage of our relatively lax laws.”
“We want to work with government ministers and agencies to crack down on dirty money and ensure agencies like HMRC and the National Crime Agency are properly resourced.”
He said that not only do the stores “diminish the status of Westminster as a place to do business” but, by occupying the whole building, “they reduce the housing supply for residents”.