John’s Introduction to the United Kingdom Anti-Corruption Update

John Penrose MP has written the introduction to the UK’s Anti-Corruption Update, which is available in full here.

United Kingdom anti-corruption strategy 2017-2022

My thanks to all the brilliant people across Government and in our various non-Government partner organisations who have worked on the anti-corruption effort to deliver the results described in this report. Tackling corruption doesn’t just keep us all safe; it means our economy grows faster, creates a level playing eld for our exporters and, as we leave the EU, shows the rest of the world that post-Brexit Britain will remain an open,

fair and trusted trading partner in future too.

The anti-corruption strategy boils down to 134 actions, over 5 years. I am particularly pleased that this report includes details of our progress – good or bad – on each one. Transparency is a vital weapon in the anticorruption fight, so we have to keep walking the talk ourselves.

Corruption doesn’t stand still, so we will needto update what we’re doing as the threatevolves over time. That means signing up more countries to publish fully-transparent registers of beneficial ownership, so there’s no hiding-place for dirty money, and supportingBritish Overseas Territories to do the same; plus deciding whether or when the registers should cover trusts, foundations or real estate as well as shares in companies. It means agreeing how and how fast to improve the quality and reliability of Companies House data, to increase trust in UK rms. Or whether and how to make our public procurement rules simpler and more transparent afterBrexit, so taxpayers get better value for money and smaller firms have a better chance of bidding successfully too.

We will need answers to all these questions,and more. And, perhaps, to reset the UK’s public anti-corruption debate, which currently focuses more on the extreme wealth and superficial glamour of international money-laundering, at the expense of equally-serious but grittier threats, for example from criminals trying to corrupt public officials or win contracts through bribery. We cannot afford complacency; the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, after all!

John Penrose, MP

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