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Revealed: The multimillion pound deals which see overseas firms buy North East property

Companies registered overseas have been involved in some multimillion-pound property deals in the North East, newly released data shows.

Data released for the first time by the Land Registry has revealed that foreign-registered companies own properties in the region worth at least £568m – and likely far more.

The most expensive real estate bought by an offshore company in the North East was West Denton Shopping Centre and Morrisons Store in Newcastle, which was bought by Kwasa Super Newcastle Limited – registered in Jersey – for £31.6m.

Similarly, a unit in Cobalt Business Park in Newcastle was bought for £27.5m by Lexo Limited, a company which is registered in the Isle of Man.

But those deals could just be the tip of the iceberg as not all the ownership details released by the Land Registry disclose the purchase price.

There is no ban on foreign companies buying UK property, and no suggestion that these companies are doing anything wrong.

But while a UK individual or company will have to pay corporation tax when they make money selling commercial real estate, foreign companies do not.

It is estimated that a third of all commercial properties in the UK are owned by offshore companies – which are typically based in countries with more favourable tax regimes to the UK – and closing the loophole could raise between £5bn and £8bn in tax a year.

Labour MP Stella Creasy, who has been leading a campaign to close the legal loophole on foreign ownership, said:

It’s not fair that when British businesses sell commercial properties

they pay tax on the gains they have made, but overseas companies don’t.

These eye-watering figures show it’s a tax loophole that’s costing British taxpayers billions of pounds, as these trusts pocket massive profits tax free – enough to fund a proper pay rise for public sector workers, or tackle the waiting lists in the NHS.

Most other countries do tax these profits but our Government refused, voting down a recent amendment to the Finance Bill and saying it was too complicated for them to introduce.

This data shows we can’t let them get away with such paltry excuses for letting these foreign companies do this – British businesses deserve a level playing field and British public services deserve proper funding.

Morrisons at Denton Park Shopping Centre in West Denton

Morrisons at Denton Park Shopping Centre in West Denton (Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

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