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Government delivers Companies Act timetable

Competitiveness minister Stephen Timms gave the usual spiel about how great the Companies Act is in his statement announcing the move.

?We have listened to the views of business and will be bringing simpler and clearer company law into place at the earliest opportunity,” he said, “and so are delivering on our promise to cut red tape and provide a good environment for British companies to do business.”

I think that’s enough from Timms.

Anyway, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of the announcement.

The provisions that will be coming into effect from 1 October 2008 (the initial start-date) are:

  • Sections 69 to 74: objection to company names;
  • Sections 82 to 85: trading disclosures;
  • Sections 155 to 159: provisions relating to corporate directors and under-age directors;
  • Sections 175 to 177: general duties of directors in respect of conflicts of interest
  • Sections 182 to 187: declaration by a director of an interest in an existing transaction or arrangement;
  • Sections 641(1)(a) & (2)-(6), 642, 643, 652 and 654: new procedure for private companies to make capital reductions supported by a solvency statement instead of by a court order; and
  • Repeal of the restrictions under the Companies Act 1985 on financial assistance for acquisition of shares in private companies, including the “whitewash” procedure.

In addition, the following provisions will be commenced with effect from 6 April 2008:

  • Sections 121 and 128: register of members: removal of entries relating to former members; and
  • Sections 811(4), 812 and 814: inspection of register of interests in a company’s shares.

As announced in November, measures dependent on changes to Companies House processes and systems will come into force in October 2009 instead.

Apparently the processes and systems at Companies House can’t hack the changes at the moment.

That’s all well and good.

But personally, I just don’t get why it took so long to identify this problem. Surely it’s an issue that would have arisen when they were mulling over the implementation date.

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