After a four-year wait, Northampton-headquartered Business Data Group has welcomed the Government’s announcement of the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill along with proposed reforms to Companies House. Publication of the Government’s Corporate Transparency and Register Reform White Paper sets out how it will tackle economic crime and crack down on corporate fraud in the UK.

The Home Office announcement of the Bill on Monday, by business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, follows months of consultation into a planned reform of Companies House, and new urgency to crack down on money laundering and dirty money in the UK following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Business leaders who have long campaigned for increased integrity at Companies House and input into the Government’s consultations have welcomed the announcement that sets out the Government’s final position on the reforms ahead of introducing legislation.

Richard Osborne, CEO, Business Data Group, said: “This is a really positive first step forwards in the UK’s efforts to tackle economic crime and it is good to see that some of Business Data Group’s concerns and recommendations have been taken on board and we look forward to seeing how the reforms are further developed and progressed.”

“It’s a shame, however, that it has taken so long to get to this stage and we dare not think how much of the taxpayers’ purse would have been saved if these measures were in place during the pandemic.”

Richard Osborne continued: “Data sharing between government, law enforcement and the private sector is a significant step forward in combating crime. Also, the requirement for financial information to be filed electronically in the internationally recognised iXBRL format is a huge leap forwards in improving financial information on the register, and capacity to combat fraud. Proof of identity and adequate regulation of directors, Persons of Significant Control (PSCs), and third party agents, are also reassuring .”

“We haven’t yet seen a roadmap that articulates the implementation schedule for the confirmed changes, and it’s important to know how long it will be until the UK will benefit from these reforms. It is vital for UK business that there are no further delays from the government in putting words into action”.

Last month, in an interview with Business Data Group, Companies House director of policy, Martin Swain, spoke to Richard Osborne about the upcoming reforms at Companies House to crack down on corporate fraud and close the loopholes. The interview can be viewed online at UK Business Forums (UKBF).