In 2016 the Government introduced a requirement for all UK companies to maintain a register of "People with Significant Control", and announced its intention to establish a register of beneficial ownership information for overseas entities that own or buy UK property ("the Register").
Since then, as we have discussed here and here, the Government has taken a number of steps to introduce greater transparency into the ownership of land (such as obliging a much wider range of trusts to register with HMRC's Trusts Registration Service, and consulting on a register of contractual arrangements used to exercise control over the buying or selling of land) but there has been frustration in the real estate industry and amongst the wider public that the Register has not yet been implemented. However, on 1 March the Government introduced the draft Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill 2022 (the "Bill") and announced that it will expedite the introduction of the Register as part of its package of sanctions against Russia and in order to progress its longer-term strategy of combatting economic crime.
We set out below the provisions of the Bill regarding the Register as introduced on 1 March 2022. We note that amendments have been introduced during the parliamentary process and will publish a further summary once the Bill has been passed.