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Business Policy

Volume 645: debated on Monday 23 July 2018

I will this morning lay before Parliament a draft Registration of Overseas Entities Bill which establishes a register of the beneficial owners of overseas entities that own UK property. This follows the commitment made at the anti-corruption summit in 2016 to establish such a register, in order to combat money laundering and achieve greater transparency in the UK property market.

Overseas entities will be required to register their beneficial ownership information with Companies House before obtaining legal title to UK property via the land registries. Overseas entities that own UK property when the requirements come into force, as well as any overseas entities that subsequently acquire UK property, will be required to register (and regularly update) their beneficial ownership information before they can undertake certain transactions with that property, such as selling or leasing the land, or creating a legal charge over the land, such as a mortgage.

This will deliver a world-first register, and builds upon the UK Government’s global leadership in tackling corruption, ensuring that the UK continues to be a great place to do business.

The draft Bill will be published with accompanying explanatory notes, an overview document and impact assessment and research report on the potential impacts. The draft Bill will undergo pre-legislative scrutiny to ensure that it is robust and workable. The Government intend to introduce the legislation early in the second Session of this Parliament.