Clause 36 - The register: inspection, provision of information and reports etc

Part of Pensions Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 11th March 2004.

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Photo of George Osborne George Osborne Shadow Minister (Treasury) 2:30 pm, 11th March 2004

I welcome what the Minister said about considering the idea. I take his points about the rights to privacy, but people can look up the names of directors in Companies House. Indeed, there are provisions to safeguard directors if they are in a company that is being targeted. For example, there is an unfortunate case in my constituency where a company is being targeted by animal rights extremists, and all the people who work for the company, including the tea lady, have had their houses and cars damaged. As a result, that company has been able to blank out its records at Companies House. For companies in extreme circumstances therefore, it is possible to protect privacy where necessary. Will the Minister think about that?

On commercial confidentiality, on first reading of the clause a lot of the information does not strikes me as particularly commercially sensitive. It is broad information about the status of the scheme and the names and addresses of the trustees. Obviously, if there were an overriding reason of commercial sensitivity why our amendment would not be possible, we would listen to that. However, a lot of this information is regularly disclosed in the accounts of companies that publish their accounts, and I welcome the Minister's indication that he will look into that. That would help convince people that we are trying to create a more open environment, and reassure scheme members in particular that they will be able to see the information that is relevant to their pension and retirement. Given the assurance that the Minister has provided, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 36 ordered to stand part of the Bill.