Letter from Secretary of State

Dear Colleague,
GREEN PAPER ON CORPORATE GOVERNANCE REFORM
I am today publishing a green paper on corporate governance reform. A copy of the paper is enclosed, and I am also placing copies in the libraries of the House. Responses are invited by 17th February 2017.
The UK has a deserved reputation as a dependable and confident place in which to do business. Our legal system, our framework of company law and our standards of corporate governance have long been admired around the world but our strong reputation can only be maintained if government and business regularly reviews and upgrades those standards. Ordinary working people – who work hard for their living – deserve to have confidence that businesses act responsibly and fairly. In some cases we have seen that the actions of a very small number of businesses can undermine the reputation of British business generally, whose standards are among the highest in the world. This green paper is designed to frame and stimulate a conversation with businesses, investors, employees, consumers and others, on what further steps may be taken to address these problems and maintain the UK’s reputation for strong and transparent corporate governance.
In particular, the paper seeks views on options to update our corporate governance framework in the following areas:
– First, on shareholder influence over executive pay and wider transparency;
– Second, on how to increase the connection between boards of directors and other groups with an interest in corporate performance such as employees, customers and suppliers;
– Third, whether some of the features of corporate governance that have served us well with our listed companies should be extended to the largest privately-held companies.
These are issues which are about competitiveness, and creating the right conditions for investment, as much as they are issues about fairness. We are determined to build an economy that works for everyone, and make Britain one of the best places in the world to work, to invest and to do business. For Britain to thrive in a global economy, we need to support strong businesses that focus on long-term value creation and command public confidence and respect. I warmly welcome the views of Parliament, companies, investors, employees, consumers and others with an interest on the options for corporate governance reform we are setting out today.
Rt Hon Greg Clark MP
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

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