Act will come into force on 1 July as the government publishes long-awaited guidance

Justice minister Ken Clarke unveiled long-awaited guidance on the Bribery Act today, after months of concern about the potential scope of the legislation.

Clarke said the law will go into force on 1 July and dismissed claims the legislation will result in increased costs for businesses.

Clarke said: “Some have asked whether businesses can afford this legislation – especially at a time of economic recovery.

“But the choice is a false one. We don’t have to decide between tackling corruption and supporting growth. Addressing bribery is good for business because it creates the conditions for free markets to flourish.”

He added the act would be implemented in a “workable, common sense way”.

Experts welcomed the revised guidance, which provides greater clarity on issues such as corporate hospitality.

John Smart, partner at Ernst & Young, said: “The revised guidance now sets the right tone and provides clarifications and examples that will be welcomed by the business community.”

Firms now have three months to make sure they fully comply with the Act.

The guidance can be found here and the Serious Fraud Office’s prosecution guidance can be found here.