Companies House is set to make all of its digital data available free of charge, making the UK the first country in the world to establish an entirely open register of business information.
As a result, businesses and members of the public will be in a position to better research and scrutinise the activities and ownership of companies and connected associates.
Last year, customers forked out £8.7 million accessing company data on the Companies House register and this fresh development is a major step forward to revolutionising corporate transparency, which was a focal point of the G8 declaration at the 2013 Lough Erne summit.
The change will take effect from Q2 2015 and is part of a commitment from the Public Data Group (PDG) Summer Statement which sets out a range of activities and planned data releases by Companies House, Land Registry, Met Office and Ordnance Survey.
Vince Cable, business secretary, said: “The government firmly believes that the best way to maximise the value to the UK economy of the information which Companies House holds, is for it to be available as open data.
“By making its data freely available and free of charge, Companies House is making the UK a more transparent, efficient and effective place to do business.
“Today’s commitments cement the UK’s position as a leader in the open data agenda.”
Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office, also welcomed the move to make valuable data to citizens and businesses more accessible than ever before.
“The UK is an international leader in open data because it sharpens accountability, exposes waste and informs choice over public services,” said Maude.
“It is also the raw material of our age, providing opportunities for entrepreneurs to create new data-led businesses and fuel growth as part of this government’s long-term economic plan.
“Today’s announcement underlines our commitment to ensuring that data of most value to citizens and businesses is released and is as widely accessible as possible.”
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