I am taking a holiday and hence a break from blogging for a fortnight from today, so I thought I would leave you with a topical post: what are the various UK parties proposing about money laundering (or even anti-money laundering) in their 2015 manifestos? Realistically, of course, I wasn’t expecting a specific name check for the Best Subject Ever, so I went on the hunt for any mention at all of financial crime.
This handy BBC guide to the key policies for all main parties was my starting point. Although all parties make proposals in the area of law and order (with, for instance, the Tories offering banning orders for extremist groups, Labour vowing to scrap police and crime commissioners, and the Lib Dems suggesting the abolition of prison sentences for possession of drugs for personal use), only one of them talks specifically about financial crime. Everyone is very keen on dealing with extremism, with drug crime and with improving local policing – but then these are the issues that are going to be in voters’ faces every day. Financial crime is, as ever, more subtle.
Of the three main parties, the Lib Dems come closest to dealing with our concerns (by which I don’t mean necessarily that we should agree with what they say – simply that they discuss it at all, whereas the other two main parties do not even approach our area of interest in their manifestos). In their manifesto the yellow lot declare that they will “take tough action against corporate tax evasion and avoidance”, including by (among other measures) “implementing the planned new offence of corporate failure to prevent economic crime, including tax evasion, with penalties for directors up to and including custodial sentences”. They also plan to “explore the case for transferring responsibility for more serious national crime to the National Crime Agency, enabling local police forces to focus on local crime and anti-social behaviour”.
Of course, the best crime-related policy of all has been suggested by the Eccentric Party of Great Britain, led by Lord Toby Jug, who – alongside proposing putting superglue in lip balm to reduce obesity and replacing sleeping policemen with members of the House of Lords – promises to nationalise crime “to make sure it doesn’t pay”. He may be on to something here…
Toodle-pip for now – I’ll be blogging again from Friday 15 May.