External Affairs update: October 2023
13 November 2023
In the spirit of autumnal change, October proved a busy month for R3's External Affairs team, with an update on economic crime legislation, work on a new paper on the personal insolvency framework, and a personal insolvency member survey for this year’s Talk Money Week campaign...
Economic Crime Bill receives Royal Assent
On the 26th of October, the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 (ECCTA) received Royal Assent following a year-long parliamentary process.
The Act introduces significant reforms including new powers to allow Companies House to act as an active gatekeeper over the creation of companies, enhanced identity verification for company directors, and improvements to registered office addresses.
These reforms are set to be implemented through secondary legislation, with some measures, such as the requirement for companies to register an email address, expected to take effect in early 2024.
Having called for reforms to Companies House for many years, we are pleased to see these amendments finally take form. However, we are concerned that the legislation does not go far enough to fully close some of the loopholes used by fraudulent directors to engage in repeated fraudulent activities.
As the new legislation takes effect, we will continue to work with both members and the Government to actively identify opportunities to address and improve these issues to make the UK a safer place to do business, and to support the profession’s work tackling director misconduct.
Improving the personal insolvency framework
In October, our Public Affairs team continued work on an upcoming paper that looks at the personal insolvency framework.
The paper explores the current debt solutions for personal insolvency and seeks to tackle how the framework could be improved to make the processes more accessible and smoother for both debtors and creditors.
Given that the framework is currently under review by the Government, we are hoping to launch the paper by the end of the year as this is opportune timing to share our thoughts on the framework before the upcoming consultation in 2024, and understand more about our members’ views on the issue ahead of our response to the consultation.
As well as our public affairs work, in October our media team worked on a campaign for Talk Money Week 2023, which took place in early November and aims to encourage people to talk about their finances and destigmatise conversations around debt.
As part of our campaign, in October we carried out a member survey looking at the current trends in personal insolvency. The survey explored how our personal insolvency members’ workload has changed in 2023, the most common factors currently impacting people’s personal finances and how members expect to see personal insolvency numbers change in 2024.T
Thank you to all those members who filled in the survey – as well as being part of our Talk Money Week campaign, its results will help inform our personal insolvency work in the coming weeks and months.
R3 in the media
Mid-October saw R3 President Nicky Fisher invited to speak on BBC South East Today, providing insights following the news that the company that owns Hastings Pier has entered liquidation. Additionally, Nicky's views on a recent fall in late payment numbers across the UK were featured in an article on Credit Connect.
Media interest in insolvency trends in Scotland also remained high in October, with comments from Iain Fraser, Chair of R3’s Scottish Technical Committee on the Q2 Scotland insolvency statistics featuring in articles in the BBC and the Sunday Express, as well as Scottish publications such as Scottish Business News and Business Insider.
And at the end of the month, R3’s Immediate Past President Christina Fitzgerald was quoted in more than 100 stories in the media commenting on the quarterly insolvency statistics for England and Wales, including the Times, iNews, and the Telegraph, as well as a number of trade and regional publications.
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