Companies bill could pave for the way for protestors

Animal rights campaigners could have access to lists of subcontractors and materials suppliers if changes to a government bill get the go-ahead, warned the CBI.A CBI spokesman told B&E amendments to the Companies Bill could force firms to reveal their suppliers in their end-of-year accounts. “It can potentially make an enormous difference to how a company works,” he said. “You will have to account for a lot of materials and the services you procure. It’s bound to have a great effect on the way companies operate.”

As B&E went to press, the bill required listed companies to disclose information on contracts with people that are essential to their businesses.The CBI spokesman said the organisation is demanding that the government looks closely at the bill’s wording to avoid confusion over how much information company directors will have to disclose. “What it will actually mean for the construction industry when it finally goes through we don’t yet know,” he said. “The draft is so badly worded that it’s open to interpretation. We’re asking for it to be tightened

up. It could mean problems for company directors who might have to disclose more information than is

inappropriate.”

Business leaders this month raised concerns that the bill could leave companies open to scrutiny from pressure groups such as animal rights campaigners. However,construction trade associations said they were as yet unconcerned with the bill, and it is still too broad to comment on it. A Major Contractors Group spokesman said: “Formally,it’s not an issue the group hascovered. We would look to the CBI to cover the Companies Bill and animal rights issues.”

Construction Products Association industrial affairs director John Tebbit told B&E: “I look forward to the government going ahead with this first. I can especially see them being transparent when it comes to the way they buy and sell arms and missiles.”

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