The FCA proposes lowering charges for viewing co-operative and community benefit society data online from £12 to £1.
Whilst this can only be a good thing, and will roughly align with current Companies House charges, later this year company data from Companies House is set to become free to access, so once again Society data will be more expensive than Company data to obtain. this is an unfair disadvantage to Societies, and therefore a barrier to anyone wanting to look at data before investing.
For too long it has been more difficult for people and organisations to access information about societies than companies. When Companies House data becomes free the disadvantage will be all the greater. Whilst the cost of accessing society data will be greatly reduced, the penalisation of a ‘cost vs no cost’ comparison will become significant over time.
We therefore call on the FCA to make efforts to provide free online access to as much data on societies as Companies House does for companies. Not to do so will simply add to the numerous ways in which societies receive a fragmented and often unequal service from government.
They’re calling on all concerned to copy and submit this template response to the FCA at firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight Monday 2 February 2015.