The UK Bribery Act 2010
At a time when Britain more than ever needs a strong export culture as a driver for growth The Bribery Act 2010 is poised to put obstacles in the way of trade. Smaller firms are finding that instead of encouragement there is a climate of uncertainty and the troublesome possibility of finding themselves on the wrong side of the law .This is not to say that British companies wanting to export products or services gain unfair advantage over their competitors by bribing their customers to favour them with their business. It is that the Act as drafted that simply does not allow for customer expectations of a meal or small gift to be met. Norton Rose LLP the International commercial Law firm in their publication “UK Bribery Act Ten Things You Should Know” http://www.nortonrose.com/knowledge/publications/2010/pub27154.aspx?lang=en-gb points out the strict guidelines of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act allows for small facilitation payments to officials to smooth the pathway of official procedures. The UK ‘Act makes no such exceptions causing confusion, frustration and consternation.
The Act now delayed a second time is “Not fit for purpose” says John Cridland Director General of the CBI says and he is right, but for the smaller companies wishing to export the climate looks far from favourable. At the very time our government is looking for growth with Exports as the driver. This ill constructed, delayed, draconian legislation, stifles the process before growth through exports for the smaller firms can get up and running.