SNP and Labour MPs have accused the Government of doing too little, too slowly to reform Scotland’s notorious limited partnerships or SLPs.

Conservative ministers this week outlined proposed new reforms of such firms, which are used as secrecy vehicle for money-laundering and corruption. Their ideas secured a cautious welcome from campaigners but will now have to go through detailed scrutiny and consultation.

Opposition MPs on Wednesday tried to force the government to act faster by supporting an SNP amendment to the money-laundering bill making the partners of SLPs have UK bank accounts.

However, that bid failed thanks to opposition from Conservatives and the DUP.

Writing in today’s Herald, the MP who proposed the amendment, Alison Thewliss, said the government had effectively announced “a consultation on a consultation”. She added: “While all this has been going on, money laundering through SLPs has continued unabated. The UK Government had an opportunity this week to accept our amendments and strengthen regulation, which they shamefully ducked.

“They must now bring forward a timetable with real actions if they are serious about tackling the scourge of dirty money on our doorstep.”

Labour's Anneliese Dodds MP said: “The Government are continuing to show a complete misunderstanding of what measures are needed to stop criminals laundering money through SLPS. Opposition Parties have been calling for reform of these shady corporate structures for years, while the Government have voted against our amendments each and every time. The Government have a record or announcing consultations that drag on for years without any outcome.”

HeraldScotland: MEP for the South East England region Anneliese Dodds

Anneliese Dodds

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy defended reforms saying legitimate business had to be protected.

He said: “The UK is leading the global fight against money laundering and changes to the law last year have seen a substantial drop in the abuse of these financial arrangements.

“It was right we carefully developed these latest reforms to further cut these crimes but without harming the legitimate businesses and pensions that invest through partnerships.”