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Excluding small businesses from anti-fraud legislation is asking for trouble

The proposed economic crime bill is so open to exploitation that lawmakers appear simply to have given up, says Chris Blackhurst

Saturday 18 March 2023 22:48 GMT
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Money laundering and false accounting have also been left out
Money laundering and false accounting have also been left out (Getty)

Down the years we’ve grown used to – make that tired of – politicians talking tough on crime and doing nothing about it.

Nevertheless, even by their low standards, this FT headline suggests they are plunging to new depths; even giving up completely: “Small UK companies set to be excluded from anti-fraud legislation.”

It’s not 1 April, it’s not a joke. It’s true. Ministers are planning to exclude small UK businesses from anti-fraud legislation by narrowing the scope of a criminal offence targeting companies that fail to prevent economic crimes. Only larger companies are to be covered, said one Home Office official, “to avoid burdening smaller businesses”.

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