Company registration rules delayed

The government has postponed implementation of key Companies Act provisions,
including those safeguarding directors at risk from militant groups, for another
year for fear Companies House cannot cope with the changes.

Competitiveness minister Stephen Timms said the government had already
allowed an extra year with commencement of areas relating to company formation
until 1 October, 2008, to allow time to implement important changes to Companies
House systems and processes and give users appropriate notice of new forms.

Announcing the further delay in a Commons statement, he said: ‘Companies
House has made considerable progress with the necessary changes to its systems
and processes.

‘However, there remains a great deal of work to be done and the Registrar of
Companies has advised that he can not be absolutely confident that the necessary
changes can be completed on time.’

Timms announced: ‘The government recognized that business needs certainty
about the implementation timetable, and has therefore decided that the
commencement date for most of the provisions due to be commenced on 1 October,
2008, should be put back to 1 October 2009.

‘This includes provisions relating to company formation, share capital,
company and business names and directors’ residential addresses’

He said there would be consultations with key stakeholders on the
commencement date for some provisions that do not require changes at Companies
House, including: objections to company names; trading disclosures; corporate
directors and under-age directors, directors’ conflicts of interest; directors’
declarations of an interest in an existing transaction; the inspection of
registers of interests in company shares; and the repeal of restrictions on
financial assistance for acquiring shares in private companies, including the
‘whitewash’ procedure.

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