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Volume 458: debated on Tuesday 13 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent estimate he has made of the annual cost to the British economy of corruption. (126939)

I have been asked to reply.

The report on “Bribery and Corruption: Impact on UK Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs)” by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) states that

“because of its clandestine nature, it is difficult to estimate the true extent and cost of the problem of bribery and corruption”.

Transparency International’s Bribe-payers Index (BPI) aims to evaluate the supply side of corruption by asking business experts in emerging economies for their impressions of the likelihood that companies from the listed countries pay or offer bribes in their business activities. The UK is sixth out of 30 countries, the second G7 country and third EU country in the table.

Mechanisms are in place to address offences of bribery committed overseas by UK nationals or UK registered bodies through Part 12 of the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, which clarified the application of existing bribery law to the bribery of foreign public office holders and gave our courts jurisdiction over such offences. DFID has recently committed funds to the City of London police to establish a dedicated police unit dealing solely with offences of bribery overseas.