Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the introduction of a levy on firms subject to the Money Laundering Regulations to help fund new government action to tackle money laundering and ensure delivery of the Economic Crime Plan reforms.
Here, Tom Keatinge, Director of the Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies gives his initial reaction to the news.
A Welcome Signal of Commitment to The Economic Crime Plan but Additional Funds from the Private Sector Must Be Matched with an Increase in Public Funding
A key challenge for the UK Government’s response to financial crime is a lack of investment in capabilities to respond to its policy ambition. In that regard a focus in the budget on funding for the Economic Crime Plan is welcome. A contribution from the regulated sectors via a levy, as long as this cost burden is proportionately distributed, is a pragmatic response.
However, the UK Government cannot only rely on the pockets of the private sector to fund its continued - and welcome - focus on financial crime. We are disappointed not to see a greater clarity and commitment to central government funding of this area, particularly for economic crime policing, which has been under-resourced for decades and we will be watching for a major uplift in the Comprehensive Spending Review.
We would also urge a more strategic use of the proceeds of asset seizures and confiscations to build new capabilities to respond to the continued financial crime threat the country faces. This would facilitate a virtuous circle of investment in capabilities to finally turn the tide against all forms of financial crime committed in the UK, or in which the UK as a global financial centre plays a facilitating role.
Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies