GC100 ready for government showdown on Companies Bill

The GC100, the body of general counsel of FTSE100 companies, will meet industry minister Margaret Hodge on Monday (30 October) to demand an explanation as to why last-minute disclosure clauses were added to the Companies Bill on 16 October without warning.

The GC100 will meet Hodge with the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and other business-interests groups to lobby against the changes.

Said Nick Folland, general counsel of media company emap and GC100 boardmember: “We have concerns as to how these amendments came about. There was no consultation. What UK plc needs is a considered and consistent approach to legislation, not rushed changes.”

The Companies Bill is due to be made law within a month. Two weeks ago, changes were rushed through parliament requiring businesses to disclose otherwise confidential information about their supply chains. The disclosure amendment was designed to encourage corporate social responsibility.

There are concerns, however, that the amendment’s wording is too wide-ranging and will require companies to reveal legally sensitive information in their annual reports.

James Palmer, chair of the company law committee at the City of London’s Law Society and a corporate partner at Herbert Smith, said: “Many companies do reveal this information already, so it’s not disastrous, but I do think the government knew that the timing of this would be contentious.”