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Overseas Entity Beneficial Ownership: UK Public Register

Volume 635: debated on Wednesday 24 January 2018

I am today confirming to Parliament the Government’s timetable for implementation of their policy to achieve greater transparency around foreign entities that own or buy property in the UK or participate in UK Government procurement. This will set down in legislation the commitment made at the 2016 Anti-Corruption summit and reaffirmed in the UK’s anti-corruption strategy, published in December.

The Government intend to legislate to establish a public register of beneficial owners of non-UK entities that own or buy UK property, or which participate in UK Government procurement. They will publish a draft Bill before the summer recess this year. This will be a significant piece of legislation that delivers a streamlined policy, consistent across the UK, where currently the land registries for England and Wales, for Scotland and for Northern Ireland have taken different approaches to land registration and registration of overseas entities.

The Government intend to introduce the Bill to Parliament early in the second Session. Following Royal Assent and the making of secondary legislation, the Government intend that the register will be operational in 2021.

Separately, I will be publishing a response to my Department’s call for evidence last year on this policy very shortly that will provide more detail on responses received and our proposed approach.