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Public Register of Company Ownership in Queen’s Speech Welcomed by The ONE Campaign

Welcoming the announcement in the Queen’s Speech that the UK Government will legislate for an open, publicly available register of beneficial ownership through the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill, Diane Sheard, UK Director at The ONE Campaign said:

“The UK’s decision to introduce a public register of who owns and controls companies is a major step forward in the fight against corruption.  When passed, the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill* will fulfil a key promise made by the G8 a year ago to tackle the problem of shell companies being used to rob poor countries of their own resources that could be spent on lifesaving healthcare, education or vital infrastructure.

“Money launderers, drug traffickers and corrupt businesses use shell companies to hide ill-gotten money.  Developing countries lost more than half a trillion pounds through such illicit financial flows in 2010, and 70 per cent of large corruption deals have been found to involve shell companies.  By ensuring that information about who really owns and controls companies is made public, this new law will be an important weapon for campaigners, journalists and citizens.

“However, to ensure that the new law is truly fit for purpose, it must include measures to make financial trusts more transparent too.  Without this, we are effectively closing the door to corruption while leaving a window wide open.”


For more information about ONE please contact Chris Mitchell on T: 020 7434 6935 or M: 07901 006 799 or email:  [email protected]

Notes to Editors

  • Legislation covering beneficial ownership of companies is to be included in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill

About ONE

ONE is a campaigning and advocacy organization of more than 4 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Not politically partisan, we raise public awareness and press political leaders to combat AIDS and preventable diseases, increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, and demand greater transparency in poverty-fighting programmes. ONE is not a grant-making organisation and does not solicit funding from the public or receive government funding. ONE is funded almost entirely by foundations, individual philanthropists and corporations. We achieve change through advocacy. Our teams in London, Washington, New York, Johannesburg, Brussels, Berlin and Paris educate and lobby governments to shape policy solutions that save and improve millions of lives. To learn more, go to ONE.org.