Loyal readers will recall that Mapeley, an offshore property company that owns and manages around 60% of HMRC's "estate", occasionally features on this site.
Yesterday the Liverpool Echo reported that a set of offices in Liverpool, once occupied by HMRC and currently owned by Mapeley, will now be turned into flats.
Oddly enough, the article seems to imply (from my reading of it anyway) that people have only recently realised that Mapeley is offshore.
Here is the article in full, please feel free to comment:
"LIVERPOOL’S former tax office building is set to be taken over by a social landlord.
City planners are due to decide on a bid that will see it turned into more than 200 one, two and three-bedroom flats.
It is anticipated there will be considerable demand for one-bed flats in future – either run by social landlords or private firms – because many people in the city are now expected to pay ‘bedroom tax’ on homes with spare rooms.
The ECHO has learned that the former Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is now owned by a company ultimately based in Guernsey, the Mapeley Group.
It was rented back by HMRC until the tax office moved out.
The company, which used to be owned in part by international financier George Soros, has recently come in for criticism from MPs over alleged “tax avoidance” because of its off-shore status.
It is one of the two companies that has submitted the planning application to refurbish the five-storey building.
The planning application, brought by Mapeley STEPS (Strategic Transfer of Estate to the Private Sector) and Glenbrook QD Ltd, states: “The development will be funded and delivered by Glenbrook and run and managed on a day to day basis by a third party registered social landlord.”
As well as the 86 one-bedroom, 124 two-bedroom and 20 three-bedroom flats – which will be “high quality accommodation that meets lifetime homes standards” – there will be a community centre, children’s playground and picnic area.
While more than 400 nearby residents were consulted as part of the bid, only one has objected over fears of traffic clogging up the narrow road to the building at Mariners Wharf.
Mystery currently surrounds which housing association will lease the development, as many of the city’s social landlords confirmed they were not involved in the scheme.
Mapeley did not confirm who the social landlord provider was and Glenbrook QD could not be reached by the ECHO for comment.
A spokesman for Mapeley STEPS Contractor Ltd, which collected the rents from HMRC, is “one of several within the Mapeley Group which is based in Guernsey”.
A stake in Mapeley was owned by Mr Soros, the man who came to widespread notoriety when he put a £10bn speculative bet against the pound in 1992, devaluing the currency and sparking what became known as ‘Black Wednesday’.
Martin Ralph, of the Merseyside Trade Unionist and Socialist Council (TUSC), which campaigns against tax avoidance, said the news that HMRC had been paying its rent to offshore companies while it was still in the building was shocking, adding: “This all shows how money flows.
"Benefits get cut because the government says it can’t afford to pay them but the money it does still pay will end up flowing into tax havens.”"
Tax does have to be taxing.
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