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Economic Crime Levy Allocations Update

Volume 730: debated on Monday 27 March 2023

Today I am confirming the allocation of £300 million between 2023-24 and 2025-26 generated from the economic crime (anti-money laundering) levy. Announced at Budget 2020, the levy was legislated for in the Finance Act 2022. The levy supplements approximately £200 million of additional Government investment to tackle economic crime over the 2021 spending review period.

The levy funding has been allocated to deliver benefits to the entire anti-money laundering system across both the public and private sector and will underpin the priorities set out in the next three-year, public-private Economic Crime Plan.

Over the next three years, the levy has been allocated to:

Invest over £100 million in state of the art technology which will analyse and share data on threats in real time, to give law enforcement the tools it needs to stay ahead of criminals.

Provide funding for more skilled financial crime investigators. This includes funding to hire 475 new investigators and economic crime training for more than 6,500 existing investigators in the National Crime Agency and across national and regional intelligence, investigation and prosecution agencies. New and better trained officers will lead to more cases investigated, more criminals prosecuted, and more assets recovered.

A further £60 million will fund new specialist intelligence teams in the National Crime Agency and expand the combating kleptocracy cell in order to tackle the most complex global money laundering networks.

Funding for c.75 officers to sustain the increased staffing of the UK financial intelligence unit and provide funding for 22 new financial investigators to analyse suspicious activity reports embedded in regional organised crime units. The suspicious activity reporting regime is a key pillar of the UK’s anti-money laundering (AML) system and is a critical tool for law enforcement to identify and disrupt money launderers.

Invest £20 million in Companies House and the Insolvency Service to fund the creation of two new intelligence teams. These new teams will improve our understanding of how UK companies are misused to launder the proceeds of crime and help put a stop to it. A further £600,000 of funding has been allocated for the deployment of UK experts overseas to raise the global standards on beneficial ownership, multiplying the impact of our domestic reforms to Companies House.

£1.2 million for a dedicated surge team to accelerate the fundamental reform of the AML supervisory regime, leading to more effective risk-based supervision, more dissuasive enforcement, and greater sharing of high-value information and intelligence.

Recognising the importance of accountability and in line with the principle of transparency, this announcement made on 27 March will be followed in 2024 by the publication of an annual report on the operation of the levy. A more wide-ranging review of the levy will be undertaken by the end of 2027. These reports will be laid before Parliament.