Companies House – an executive agency of the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – is currently considering proposals to reduce the amount of time records of dissolved companies are retained, from the current 20 years to just six years. It has been reported that Companies House has come under pressure from MPs to change its approach.
Campaigners have warned that such a move would make it harder to hold companies and individuals to account. Which is why we need to act. Scroll down to sign my petition now:
Analysis from Labour has revealed that 24 current Government Ministers would be affected by the proposals. These Tory ministers would see their previous links to 48 now-dissolved companies and organisations deleted either immediately or over the course of the Parliament.
The ministers affected include Chancellor Philip Hammond who is a former director of six now-dissolved companies, Home Secretary Amber Rudd, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Some of the Ministers involved resigned from the companies many years ago, before they were dissolved, but the records are still publicly available.
Furthermore, at least eight top Tory donors who between them have given more than £27 million to the Conservative Party would also benefit. This includes Andrew Fraser who was included in David Cameron’s resignation peerages and who has given the party more than £2.5 million.
The proposals currently under consideration by Companies House are extremely worrying and would be a backwards step. Theresa May must ensure that these proposals never see the light of day.
Because it's not just ministers and donors who could potentially benefit from having their records removed. This proposal from Companies House would protect criminals who seek to hide their past corporate misdeeds from public view. It would harm the global fight against corruption and tax avoidance. Crucially, it would also be an attack on the right of the public, the police and journalists to carry out legitimate checks on company directors. More importantly, it will make it harder for legitimate companies to conduct proper due diligence on potential business partners.
If the Tory Government was truly committed to transparency and openness then it would not allow this move – which would effectively wipe from public view the records of 2.5 million dissolved companies and the people associated with them – to go ahead.
Ask Theresa May to make sure this proposal never sees the light of day. Sign my petition now: