Thursday, June 08, 2006

Company Law Reform Bill and Simultaneous Policy

Today's letter to MP.
Feel free to copy and paste.

Dear John

As you know, the Company Law Reform Bill is going through the House at the moment, and the trade justice movement is pressing for reforms designed to balance the statutory rights of corporations with some equally binding responsibilities. They are calling for amendments to the Bill so that companies:
1. must be made accountable not just to shareholders but also to stakeholders
- that is, all those persons that are affected by their operations.
2. must report on, and be legally accountable for, the environmental and social impacts of their operations.
3. are liable to be sued in the UK by people that they have harmed by their operations in a foreign country.

However, the Government is bound to turn these amendments down on the ground that if the UK brought those rules in, multinational corporations (and probably many home grown ones) would simply threaten to take their business elsewhere. These reforms need to be implemented on an international basis, and to do this the Government should employ Simultaneous Policy - the tactic of laying down a pledge to act when a set number of other governments have also laid down a similar pledge (I know that you know that, but the Minister may not).

So I would be very grateful if you would ask Margaret Hodge the Industry Minister why she will not pledge to apply the above reforms when a majority of other comparable trading nations (the size of the majority being up to her) have also made the same pledge.

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