Lords to ease supplier fear

Lords to ease supplier fear

The government is to formally assure business leaders that a surprise last minute change to the companie bill will not force them to reveal their entire supply chain

In a deal thrashed out with trade and industry minister Margaret Hodge,
fellow minister Lord Sainsbury will read out a form of words during Lords
debates on the bill today, making it clear the new provision ‘will not involve
unnecessary listing of all suppliers’.

Lord Sainsbury’s statement will say that the requirement ‘will add value to
the quality of reporting for shareholders without imposing unnecessary costs on
business’ and that ‘the new provision will not be prescriptive or onerous’.

The statement will have legal effect if the scope of the challenged provision
is tested in the courts under the rule that, where legislation is unclear,
judges are entitled to take into account statements made by ministers during
debates setting out the government’s intentions.

The Tories had hoped to throw out the clause in debates today, but the
Liberal Democrats are pledged not just to keep the clauses, but to strengthen
them, tipping the balance of the Upper House in the government’s favour.

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