The Institute of Chartered Accountants has raised this issue. When Companies House is informed of identity theft—an issue to which I referred several times in earlier debates—it does not, under the Companies Act 1985, have the power to amend the public record to remove the fraudulent entries unless the applicant has made a successful application to court and received a court order. That process is cumbersome, expensive and time consuming.
In response to Lord Hodgson, Lord McKenzie claimed that he had some sympathy with the point in circumstances in which manifestly false information had been published. That Minister said that he would take the question away and review it, and we now have clause 748.
Will this Minister explain the thoughts behind the clause and advise us on what objections period under subsection (2) is likely and when we will hear of the process to be used? Presumably, the intention is that the provisions will be carefully thought through so that they will not, in themselves, be used to allow fraud.
The Opposition proposed the inclusion of the clause through a colleague of the hon. Gentleman in the other place, and we are grateful for this helpful provision. I shall have to write to him on the detail of the length of the period for objections, but I assume that he welcomes the clause, as it was proposed by the Opposition in the other place. We think it is a very good provision.
I hope I did not imply that I do not like the clause. I explained the process by which we decided on it and I think it will do good things. My queries are simply on the implementation process.