Launched in 2019 following approvals from the Economic Crime Strategic Board (ECSB), the Economic Crime Plan sets out an ambitious programme of work initiated to tackle fraud and money laundering and outline precisely how the UK’s public and private sectors would work together to improve responses to economic crime.
The statement of progress is published following a meeting of the ECSB in February. It describes how the Government has worked through the Coronavirus pandemic to tackle economic criminals and disrupt hostile actors.
The statement of progress pinpoints an improved understanding of the threat, including through the third publication of the UK’s National Risk Assessment of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing and the establishment of a ‘Fusion Cell’ within the National Economic Crime Centre.
It also highlights how vulnerabilities in the system are being addressed, including by updating anti-money laundering requirements. There’s also mention of investment in law enforcement. Here, an extra £63 million has been set aside by the Government for the Home Office to drive efforts in dealing with economic crime and cracking down on fraud.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “I will not tolerate criminals lining their pockets with dirty money at the expense of law-abiding citizens. This statement shows that we have made progress, but it’s vital we continue to work with the private sector and law enforcement to win the fight against economic crime.”
John Glen, economic secretary to Her Majesty’s Treasury, commented: “Our collective efforts have already made it harder for criminals to abuse the UK’s global financial centre, but there remains a lot to do. It’s crucial that we continue to work closely with public and private sector partners to understand the threat, address vulnerabilities and crack down on illicit financial activity.”
The ECSB is a Government Task Force chaired by the Home Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer that works with senior figures from the UK’s financial, legal accountancy, insurance and property sectors to tackle economic crime and protect the public and industry from scammers and fraudsters.
Forward delivery plan
The forward delivery plan within the statement of progress includes measures to tackle illicit finance, cracking down on a range of threats that underpin cash-based money laundering (such as the use of money mules).
The Government will continue to work closely with the private sector to ensure the UK’s status as a global financial centre and the ease of doing business cannot be taken advantage of by the criminal fraternity.