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Volume 403: debated on Monday 10 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make it a requirement for the internet sites of companies registered in the United Kingdom to carry the registered address of their company. [101337]

In June 2002, the European Commission published a proposal to update the First Company Law Directive, which sets out basic safeguards for the protection of shareholders, creditors and other third parties dealing with limited companies, to reflect technological developments since the Directive was originally agreed in 1968.A provision within the Commission proposal was that companies should be required to include basic statutory information, including information sufficient to identify the public file relating to the company and the location of its registered office, in electronic documents and on any company website. The UK supports this proposal as an important protection for those dealing with companies via the internet.It is hoped that agreement to the final text can be achieved in the near future. Early consideration of the legislative steps necessary to achieve the objectives of the Directive in the UK will then take place