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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.