Company and Business Names (Amendment) Regulations 2001

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Mr. Peter Kilfoyle (Liverpool, Walton): Will the regulations cover Scotland? If so, and should a Gaelic equivalent of ``chamber of commerce'' be in use in the Western Isles, for example, will that equivalent be covered by the provisions?

4.45 pm

Dr. Howells: Gaelic equivalent, eh? My hon. Friend will be delighted to know that the provisions cover Scotland. Shortly, I hope to be able to tell him whether a Gaelic equivalent exists.

Mr. Pope: What about Glaswegian?

Dr. Howells: This is appalling, Mr. Sayeed. My hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Kilfoyle) is certainly no Glaswegian—he is a scouser.

Chamber of business translates into Welsh as ``Siambr Fusnes''; ``Siambrau Busnes'' is the plural. I have now received a note telling me that the Company and Business Names (Chamber of Commerce, Etc.) Act 1999 did not provide for Gaelic equivalents, and no precedent exists in the Companies Act 1985 for Gaelic—only for Welsh. Clearly, we must address that question.

The hon. Member for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton asked about applications. The guidance says:

    ``The Secretary of State will consider every application on its own merits but will always have regard to the...purpose of a Chamber.''

That is the most important of all the variables. The guidance says that

    ``A Chamber must...serve and promote the interests of the business community in any place, area or sector indicated by the name...provide information, advice and assistance to the relevant business community...undertake, or encourage members to undertake, joint activities and arrangements for mutual support and promotion of the interests of that business community.''

The Secretary of State will also have regard to

    ``The constitution of the Chamber...if it is a body corporate...if it is a company limited by guarantee under the Companies Act 1985...if the body's constitution prevents the payment of dividends to its members and provides that any profits are used to further the objects of the Chamber...if the body's constitution preserves its representative nature in respect of all its members equally and does not allow it to be controlled by any one member or group of members... if the body's constitution ensures that each member has only one vote and if there are proper processes for the members to elect the board/committee...if the constitution provides for representation of businesses in a particular area and, if so, whether that geographical area is included in the name of the company or business and whether the Chamber operates, or proposes to operate, in that area.''

I hope that that is detailed enough. The hon. Gentleman also asked about independence. The Secretary of State will also take into account whether the body

    ``is independent of Government (national or local) and is independent of any other body that is not a Chamber (for example, whether it is a subsidiary or division of another body).''

In addition, the Secretary of State will have regard to

    ``whether the Chamber fully represents the business community on whose behalf it is formed and reflects the nature of that community (which could be a very particular community)...If the name of a prospective a prospective Chamber includes a geographical descriptor, special considerations will apply depending on whether it aims to...represent a single geographical area, in which case the Secretary of State will wish to establish that the Chamber will be fully representative of all business in that area; or...promote trade between two separate areas, in which case the Secretary of State will wish to establish that it will do so.

In response to the hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire, I confirm that the title would include the term ``chamber of commerce'', so any additional term or variation, such as ``trade and industry'', should be covered by that.

I again commend the regulations to the Committee.

Question put and agreed to.


    That the Committee has considered the Company and Business Names (Amendment) Regulations 2001 (S.I. 2001, No. 259).

Committee rose at ten minutes to Five o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
Sayeed, Mr. Jonathan (Chairman)
Cotter, Mr.
Flint, Caroline
Gibb, Mr.
Gibson, Dr.
Gray, Mr.
Howells, Dr.
Kilfoyle, Mr.
Mallaber, Judy
Pope, Mr.
Starkey, Dr.
Twigg, Mr. Stephen
Wilkinson, Mr.
The following Member also attended, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118(2): {**c**}
Lansley, Mr.

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Prepared 12 February 2001