‘Sensitive’ business names list reduced

A list of sensitive names that required approval before a new business could be registered has been cut by a third.

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills said businesses that want to use words such as ‘Authority’, ‘Board’, ‘European’, ‘Group’, ‘International’ and ‘National’ will no longer have to gain prior approval from Companies House.  The Welsh and Gaelic equivalents of the words have also been struck off the list.

Other names have been retained because they can occasionally cause confusion over what a business does or has the legal authority to do.  These include ‘accredited’, ‘bank’, ‘chamber of’, ‘charity’, ‘institute’, ‘government’ and ‘university’.  ‘English’, ‘Scottish’, ‘Northern Irish’, ‘Welsh’ and ‘Cymru’.

The cuts aim to reduce the time it takes Companies House to process applications to incorporate. It receives around 30,000 such applications per month, of which 4,800 contain prescribed words, with approximately 70 per cent of these eventually accepted.

Business Minister Jo Swinson said: “Making life easier for start-up businesses will help create a stronger economy. Rules on certain types of words shouldn’t be an additional hurdle, so reducing the list of company names needing approval makes sense.

“However, we also need to make sure that businesses can’t pass themselves off as something they’re not. We struck a balance which reduces the regulations on new businesses. But that also keeps historic and sensitive names rightfully on the list.”

The move has been introduced following a government consultation in 2013.

Link: Consultation response