The UK government must have felt vindicated last week over its decision to delay the Bribery Act again.
Official figures showed that rising inflation hit 4 per cent last month, double the Bank of England target and the highest rate since 2008, prompting the central bank to hint that interest rates, now at 0.5 per cent, could hit 1.25 per cent by the end of the year.
Confidence among UK companies also slipped last month, with the optimism index at 92 from 94.8 in December, a report by the consultancy BDO shows. The spectre of a double-dip recession looms again.
The government says it has to draw up guidance for companies on what the anti-bribery law means in practice. Whatever the reason, it may not be a good time to lumber British businesses with more regulation.
The Bribery Act was scheduled to be enforced in April, after being put back from October. When imposed, it will be one of the most draconian anti-corruption laws in the world, as companies with a UK interest will be liable if staff or third parties pay bribes on their behalf anywhere in the world. This is even wider in scope than the stern US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
What is alarming British business is the non-exemption of "facilitation payments". These could include paying a fee to expedite customs clearance or entertaining foreign officials at events such as a sporting world cup, or even gift-giving, a common practice in some countries. Guilty individuals face up to 10 years' imprisonment and unlimited fines.
The US act makes provision for such payments. So does the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The key defence under the Bribery Act is that the company has placed "adequate procedure" against such acts.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the business lobby that has criticised the new legislation as "not fit for purpose", welcomes the government's decision to delay the Bribery Act.
"The CBI strongly supports the government's attempts to modernise and update anti-bribery legislation," said Katja Hall, the CBI director of employment policy.
"But we want the review to clarify the rules for areas like hospitality and third-party services, to ensure that people who are engaged in legitimate activities are not caught out."
The OECD is fuming about the delay and has threatened an exports blacklist for the UK, putting it alongside countries such as Nigeria and Russia. The UK was among its 38 members to have ratified the organisation's anti-bribery convention 12 years ago, but has yet to enact adequate laws in line with its international obligations.
The act will be implemented, assures the UK business secretary Vince Cable. In fact, the guidance is at an advanced stage. But businesses will have three months to prepare for it, so it might not be enforced until the autumn.
There is no doubt the legislation has the backing of ministers and business leaders. After all, international corruption is a costly affair - about US$1 trillion (Dh3.67tn) a year worldwide, according to World Bank estimates.
The previous Labour government's idea to bring the 104-year-old law on bribery and corruption into the 21st century was right. It is just the timing that is wrong.
The government's decision to delay the legislation is therefore seen by some in the UK in a positive light. Some observers are even calling for the government to hold fire for at least two years until economic recovery is firmly in place.
Many believe that external pressure, however influential and strong, should not take precedence over the interest of the British people. With its popularity declining as the public spending cuts begin to bite, the government would do well to listen to the people.
The UK parliament already won some brownie points this week by rejecting the European court's demand to give voting rights to prisoners. One suspects defying the calls over the Bribery Act will not harm it either.
But while some Britons are heartened by this defiance, it could cost them dear. Businesses must be ready when the time comes, whenever that is.