Government plans single economic crime agency

The coalition government has announced plans to create one agency to tackle serious economic crime to take on work from several regulatory bodies including the Financial Services Authority.

In its Programme for Government document published today, the new government has set out its plans for reform which build on the proposals contained in the Coalition Agreement published last week.

The programme says: ” We take white collar crime as seriously as other crime, so we will create a single agency to take on the work of tackling serious economic crime that is currently done by, among others, the Serious Fraud Office, the FSA, and Office of Fair Trading.”

The document also commits the government to investigate new sources of revenue, such as the creation of a Post Office Bank, and the government says it will ensure that Post Offices are allowed to offer “a wide range of services in order to sustain the network.”

There are plans to create a free national financial advice service, to be funded in full by a social responsibility levy on the financial services sector.

The government also wants to speed up the process of including housing costs in the Consumer Prices Index measure of inflation, and says it will work with the Bank of England in order to achieve this.

There is also a raft of proposed measures to tackle the lack of housing supply including ways to bring empty homes into use, promoting shared ownership schemes, and new trusts to help communities provide homes for local people.

The government has also revealed plans to review the effectiveness of raising the Stamp Duty threshold for first-time buyers from £125,000 to £250,000.

This is despite the Conservatives backing the raising of the Stamp Duty threshold in the run-up to the election.

A joint statement from Prime Minister David Cameron and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg says: “We are agreed that the most urgent task facing this coalition is to tackle our record debts, because without sound finances, none of our ambitions will be deliverable.

“Difficult decisions will have to be taken in the months and years ahead, but we will ensure that fairness is at the heart of those decisions so that all those most in need are protected.”