On 11th May 2023, the House of Lords debated the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill in committee. The Bishop of St Albans spoke in support of an amendment tabled by Lord Coaker which would provide for the potential of financial compensation for victims of economic crime:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I am sorry I have been unable to engage more fully and consistently with this Bill, but this amendment prompted me to come here when I had a few minutes. I was recently speaking to someone I met at a social gathering. In the course of the evening, we were talking about a whole range of things, and he was talking about the fact that he had been defrauded of some money and how it is now materially affecting his retirement. His comment was: “I feel so embarrassed, because I’ve always tended to think it was simple people who didn’t understand financial matters who were likely to lose money. I’m highly literate, I’ve done all the right things, but I’ve been defrauded”. This is having a big effect.
During a debate on the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill on 9th May 2022, the Bishop of St Albans spoke in support of an amendment tabled by Baroness Kramer that would require the Secretary of State to set up an Office for Whistleblowers to receive reports of whistleblowing in relation to economic crime:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I think I can be quite brief thanks to the noble Baroness, Lady Kramer, as I have been able to ditch most of what I was going to say because she has already made it so clear. I was persuaded to put my name to this amendment simply because I met a woman in one of my churches on a Sunday after worship who is currently in precisely this situation, and her whole life has basically fallen apart.
She came across something that it was clear to her was wrongdoing; she agonised for weeks and tried to take advice, which was difficult to get because of confidentiality. Eventually she decided that she needed to blow a whistle. She was immediately suspended, taken through a disciplinary process and dismissed. She is now trying to decide whether she can afford to take this through the courts. Her view is that she would probably have to sell her house to do so. It really is a David and Goliath situation.
The Bishop of Durham asked a question on the government’s plans to tackle economic crime on 31st January 2023, during a debate on the planned Economic Crime Bill:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, those who decide to perpetrate economic crime are apparently targeted, swift and very bright about how they do it. I read the Statement and it mentions the Home Office, the Treasury and BEIS. Is it not time for more targeted, thought-through, quick action by government, rather than action that is divided across too many departments?
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