Call for firm action to clean up Companies House.
The SNP has ramped up pressure on the UK government to strengthen measures to tackle economic crime in the UK and the flow of dirty money streaming through the UK under its watch.
The party’s Shadow Chancellor Alison Thewliss welcomed the Economic Crime Bill – which is due to come before Parliament today – but has urged UK Ministers to consider further amendments to the bill to close potential loopholes and give new commitments on the pace of the next economic crime bill.
The SNP has repeatedly pressed the UK government to take action on Companies House, which allows dirty money to be laundered through UK shell companies – including Scottish Limited Partnerships.
The party has now brought forward an amendment to the Economic Crime Bill which would aim to make Companies House an anti-money laundering supervisor and to register as part of the UK government’s Verify scheme.
Commenting, the SNP’s Shadow Chancellor Alison Thewliss MP said:
“While the Economic Crime Bill is welcome and long overdue, the UK government must heed the warnings and look to strengthen measures in order to close the loopholes and effectively tackle economic crime.
“The SNP has been clear that for too long, the UK government has stalled on reforming Companies House – which allows dirty money to be laundered through UK shell companies – including Scottish Limited Partnerships.
“It’s concerning that the Economic Crime Bill does not touch upon Companies House reform and that there is only a white paper on the subject, years after a widespread public consultation.
“That must change and that is why the SNP has brought forward a crucial amendment that aims to clean up Companies House by making it an anti-money laundering supervisor and to register as part of the UK government’s Verify scheme.
“The UK government must commit to bringing forward a second economic crime bill, reforming Companies house, at the earliest possible opportunity.
“Separately, more powerful Unexplained Wealth Orders is progressive, but can only help if they are actually used.
“Only nine have been issued since their introduction, with none issued since 2019.
“It is vital now that the UK government meaningfully engages with the amendments to the Bill and brings forward further time to debate key measures, including on swifter action, closing loopholes, tackling Scottish Limited Partnerships and penalties acting as a credible deterrent.
“It’s not right that we have been afforded such little time to properly scrutinise proposals and to fix the Bill.
“The SNP will continue to work constructively with all sides of the House in order to combat and tackle dirty money flowing through the UK, and that starts with improving this Bill.”