§ Mr. John Hughes
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what charges are made by the United Kingdom and each EEC country to the public for inspecting documents relating to companies and what they obtain for their money.
§ Mr. Maude
The chief executive of Companies House tells me that, in Great Britain, a searcher receives for the £2.50 statutory inspection fee, a microfiche copy of the filmed contents of one company record held by the registrar. Historical documents not filmed may be inspected by arrangement at one of the search rooms within the same search fee.
Under the provisions of the first council directive dated 9 March 1968, European Community member states are required to make available for inspection company information for a fee which does not exceed the administrative cost of providing it.
The system of company searches throughout EC member states varies considerably and complete up-to-date information about all search facilities is not currently held. The chief executive has in hand a project to consider 109W closer working links with providers of company registration and search facilities throughout the European Community. Meantime, if the hon. Member has any particular point in mind, the chief executive would be pleased to consider what he might do to help.