Labor calls for national strategy for fraud and annual losses of £1.3 billion | cheat

Labor will press the government for its first “national fraud strategy” in a decade as figures show that financial fraud and scams affecting consumers and businesses totaled £1.3 billion in lost money last year.

The party will seek to force a vote on the Financial Services and Markets Act with an amendment calling for a new fraud strategy, with households and businesses losing more than ever.

Tolip Seddik, the shadow city minister who introduced an amendment to the bill, said ministers needed to control scams and fraud at a time when the cost of living was hurting people’s money.

The government last introduced a national scam strategy in 2011, and nothing has been published in the meantime despite the spread of online financial scams.

The bill aims to reform financial regulation, including requiring regulators to set secondary targets to encourage economic growth and to have zero net targets in mind.

It is also expected to give treasury ministers sweeping powers to “recall” regulatory decisions they disagree with if it is deemed “in the public interest” in a move some have warned would interfere with the independence of financial regulators.

Others criticized the bill for being a missed opportunity in terms of tackling fraud and dealing with the world of digital assets. Social Justice Now said the bill would “give more power” to the financial sector.

Siddiq said the government has failed to deal with “new types of fraud – such as identity theft and online deception – which have seen criminals get rich at the public’s expense, stealing people’s savings and jeopardizing their economic security”.

“It’s time to give law enforcement agencies the powers they need to crack down on digitally savvy criminals and track stolen funds through payment system operators, electric money institutions, and crypto asset companies,” she said.

“If the government is serious about tackling fraud, it will support our amendment, which will allow regulators and enforcement agencies to go after criminals and bring them to justice wherever they hide their stolen money and protect people’s financial security.”

She said Labor was advocating a single national strategy dedicated to tackling fraud, and ministers wanted “to support investigators and the sector to prevent fraud and track stolen funds by putting in place a data-sharing agreement that goes beyond banks only to include social media companies, crypto asset companies and payment system operators.”