Is the UK less corrupt?

The 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) that ranks countries by the perceived level of public sector corruption, was published by Transparency International on 27 January 2016.

The CPI has many detractors but is, nonetheless, read attentively by governments, companies and interested individuals around the world. One of the interesting facts about this year’s results is that the UK has re-entered the top ten of cleanest countries after an absence of more than a decade.

This comes as good news for the Prime Minister who is to host a global summit on corruption in London in May, and may be a reflection of broader UK efforts to combat what the Pope recently referred to as the ‘cancer of corruption’. The UK has introduced the first national Anti-Corruption Action Plan and recent changes to UK law make it easier to deal with companies that gain from bribery. However more needs to be done. The UK remains a destination of choice for the proceeds of corruption. In particular the spotlight of transparency does not shine upon the register of property ownership in the UK, enabling illegitimate funds to be invested beyond public scrutiny.

The UK must continue to be a leading light in the international effort to drive down what is, perhaps, the greatest obstacle to poverty reduction across the globe. But whilst maintaining that effort, the UK needs to also continue domestic efforts to tackle corruption and so maintain its position amongst the cleanest countries in the world.

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