Government postpones company law reforms until October 2009

The date when significant parts of the Companies Act come into force has been put back a year. It will now be 1st October 2009 instead of 1st October 2008, according to the UK Government.

Stephen Timms, Minister of State for Competitiveness, made a written statement to Parliament today detailing changes to the Companies Act Implementation timetable.

Timms said that the systems needed to implement the changes were not ready yet. "We need to make sure the necessary changes to the Companies House systems and processes are in place before we bring the final provisions of the Act into force," he said. "We are giving business early warning of this change in the implementation timetable so they do not incur unnecessary costs".

The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) said that it would consult with business to see whether some provisions of the Act can still come into force in October next year.

Those parts of the Act which were due to come into force in April of next year will still do so, said BERR.

Amongst the elements that have been delayed are requirements relating to company formation and a company's internal constitution; directors' residential addresses; company and business names; and a company's share capital.

The elements which come into force next April include a separate, comprehensive "code" of accounting and reporting requirements for small companies and abolition of the requirement for private companies to have a company secretary.

Timms published an amended timetable for implementation, and said that a further timetable would be published in December.