In discussions with the Backbench Business Committee requesting this debate on 16 November 2021, Mr Hollinrake noted that the debate had cross-party support from over 40 parliamentarians.

Dame Margaret Hodge said the UK had become “the jurisdiction of choice for a lot of dirty money”. Our Library briefing Economic crime in the UK: a multi-billion pound problem discusses the threat of economic crime and the Government’s Economic Crime Plan.

Key issues 

The debate seeks to hold the Government’s “feet to the fire” on its upcoming Economic Crime Bill, focusing on three things:

  1. Beneficial ownership register reform. The Government has committed to bring forward legislation to establish a beneficial ownership register for UK property, but it’s unclear when they plan to do so. Section 2.2 of our briefing Registers of beneficial ownership discusses the context and recent developments.
  2. Companies House reform. Mr Hollinrake said that UK companies are a “classic way to hide money” and wanted to press the Government on its proposed reforms to make Companies House “a regulator rather than simply a registrar”. These reforms are discussed in section 2.1 of our briefing on Registers of beneficial ownership.
  3. Corporate criminal liability. Dame Margaret Hodge said this reform was “essential to stop the enablers…actually facilitating economic crime”. The Law Commission is due to report shortly on options for reform, as discussed in our briefing on Corporate criminal liability.

Relevant briefings

Other relevant Library briefings are:

  • Unexplained Wealth Orders, discussing the introduction of a new tool to help confiscate illegally-obtained assets like property.
  • Politically Exposed Persons Regime, discussing the requirement under UK law for certain institutions to conduct enhanced checks on “politically exposed” people like MPs.
  • Banking fraud, discussing the scale of UK banking fraud and Government action to tackle it.

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