26 January 2022
Dunne urges Government to user proposed economic crime Bill to ensure fraud cases are investigated

Speaking following an Urgent Question on the Government’s plans to bring forward an economic crime Bill, Philip Dunne calls on the Government to learn lessons from measures introduced in previous financial crises, and ensure that when people report cases to Action Fraud for investigation, that the cases are investigated.

Philip Dunne (Ludlow) (Con)

Fraudsters, criminals and bad people take advantage of measures introduced in response to crises, whether financial or otherwise. This is an incredibly complex area. Every Member will have had constituents who have lost out one way or another through fraud over the years, so I hope the Minister will take the sentiments from across the House—I think every party in the House has spoken today—expressing concern about this issue and the delay that has come about. May I urge him to take two things into account? He says he is learning lessons. Will he learn the lessons from the response to the financial crisis, when our banks introduced measures that led to the virtual confiscation of, for example, more than 16,000 customers from the Global Restructuring Group within RBS? And can he please learn lessons to try to ensure proper corporate behaviour by lenders? Secondly, he mentions Action Fraud. The threshold for Action Fraud to investigate, or urge the police to investigate in various forces, is incredibly high. As a consequence, while we all urge our constituents to make contact with Action Fraud, invariably nothing follows.

Paul Scully (The Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets)

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. We recognise those constraints, which is why we are looking at replacing Action Fraud with a new organisation based with City of London police to try to tackle the areas he raises. We will also learn the lessons. He is absolutely right. We want to get the balance right, so that we are confiscating the right amount of money from the right people—the criminals.