The UK Government is currently running a consultation on the economic crime levy it proposed in its 2020 Budget.

The levy would be aimed at raising approximately £100 million per year from entities regulated for anti-money laundering (AML) purposes and be used to resource a sustainable programme to tackle economic crime.

We would strongly encourage members with an interest in the proposals, to submit your own responses by the 13 October deadline.

We will be submitting a response on behalf of the profession and have already opposed the levy in principle and on the basis that the solicitor profession is not the key beneficiary of work funded by the levy.

Rather, the programme is aimed at eradicating financial crime for the good of the public. That work should therefore be funded from general government revenue. That said, the UK Government has already indicated its plan to press ahead with a levy commencing 2022.

The consultation seeks views on what the levy will pay for, how it might be collected and lays out a number of options as to how the levy might be applied, with minimum revenue being the suggested qualifying criteria. Depending on the figure applied, it seems likely that particular strata of Scottish legal firms may be exempt from the levy.

We have requested a seat on the Economic Crime Group to ensure that the interests of the Scottish legal sector are properly and accurately represented and differentiated from those of the Law Society of England and Wales and the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which are already represented on the group.

We will keep our members up to date with developments as the consultation period progresses.