Public register of beneficial ownership discussed at G8 - Osborne pledges one in the UK

The G8 is in full swing in its second and final day, with leaders discussing what's been dubbed as the "three t's" tax, transparency and trade.

Paul Collier, adviser to David Cameron, and Michael Anderson, Cameron's special envoy for UN development goals, have just given a briefing on the G8 agenda so far.

Collier noted how corporate tax avoidance in the developing world is preventing growth – for example, the loss of wealth from companies avoiding tax in African countries amounts to more than twice the money they receive in aid.

He also advocated cracking down on beneficial ownership to make it clear who owns companies in order to tackle corruption in the continent. When asked if the G8 leaders support public registers of beneficial ownership, Anderson replied that they are still discussing this, although Cameron supports a consultation on the matter. The key milestones are, he says, getting companies to collate this information and making it easily accessible to the tax authorities.

However, it is uncertain whether developing countries would be automatically included in the exchange of tax information, but there is a growing consensus in favour of country by country reporting.

Meanwhile, UK chancellor George Osborne has announced he will be setting up a UK register of beneficial ownership, potentially open to the public.