Changes to rules for Company and Business Names

Changes to rules for Company and Business Names

From: Paul Moulding

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Outcome of the Red Tape Challenge consultation on company and business names.

The UK government response to the Company and Business Names: Red Tape Challenge consultation was published on 4 October 2013.

The consultation sought views on the future of names regulations in general and invited comments on the options for improving and simplifying them. It considered the need to maintain the current regulations which, primarily, set out rules regarding ‘same as’ names and ‘sensitive’ words and expressions.

When the changes apply

The regulations came into force on 31 January 2015.

The regulations concerned are:

  • The Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business (Sensitive Words and Expressions) Regulations 2014
  • The Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business (Names and Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2014

Main changes

Fewer words are now disregarded for the purposes of deciding whether one name is the ‘same as’ another on the register to allow more choice and make name swaps within groups of companies easier – the words (and their Welsh equivalents) to be removed include:

  • exports
  • group
  • holdings
  • imports
  • international
  • services

Updates to the list of permitted characters, signs, symbols and punctuation to include accents and other diacritical marks.

Amendments to the list of expressions to be disregarded for the purposes of ‘same as’ (including their Welsh equivalents) are:

  • ‘& Co’
  • ‘& Company’
  • ‘and Co’
  • ‘and Company’

The list of words and expressions now disregarded includes where they are used with brackets, meaning a name which was previously not the ‘same as’ because of the inclusion of brackets is now treated as ‘same as’.

Widening of the ‘same as’ consent provision now makes it easier for companies in the same group to grant permission to register a proposed name.

Amendments to trading disclosure requirements now means that any company located in an office or other location occupied by 6 or more companies may make its registered name available for inspection on a register.

There a fewer ‘sensitive’ words and expressions. The list (and where applicable Welsh and Gaelic equivalents) no longer includes:

  • abortion
  • authority
  • banknote
  • board
  • data protection
  • disciplinary
  • discipline
  • European
  • giro
  • group
  • holding
  • human rights
  • international
  • national
  • oversight
  • pregnancy termination
  • register
  • registered
  • registration
  • registry
  • regulation
  • rule committee
  • United Kingdom
  • watchdog

Explanation from York Place Company News

Radical changes to the company name rules come into force on 31 January 2015

There are quite radical changes in the two main areas that have, up till now, made it difficult to register certain names.

  1. Sensitive words

It has traditionally been held that the use of certain words in company names needs to be controlled to prevent a company effectively claiming itself to be something it’s not. Today’s list includes words such as  “National”, “International, “European”, “Group”, “Holdings” and many more. To be successful with one of the listed words, you currently need to supply some sort of evidence. As at today if you want to form a company with ‘group’ in the title, you have to supply the details of two associated companies. For “holdings” you have to name at least one subsidiary company. For ‘national’ you need to prove pre-eminence in your field.

Whilst the general principal is being retained, certain words are being dropped. From next Monday, “Group”, “Holdings”, “National”, “International”, “European”, “United Kingdom”, amongst others, will be not subject to any test. “National” and “International” have always been quite difficult to get through but from next week it will be a lot easier.

Likewise there will be a lot more ‘holding’ and ‘group’ companies in the future.

  1. “Same as” names

The rules on “same as” names had a shake-up in 2009 when several extra phrases and words were thrown into the ‘disregarded’ mix and some things, whether by accident or design, were omitted. Under the new rules, we will revert to the pre-2009 system whereby “and Company” was ignored when considering name identicality. Similarly, you will no longer be able to put brackets around a word to circumvent the system. The good news however is that most of the controversial words are no longer being disregarded, ie Exports, Group, Holdings, Imports, International and Services.

From 31 January 2015  we can look forward to a little less paperwork during the incorporation process but there will soon be a lot more companies out there who may not be quite what you expect.

Although the rules are being simplified somewhat, there are still pitfalls that need to be avoided. Please contact us for help and advice.



Direct Earnings Attachments – What are they?

Direct Earnings Attachments – What are they? – What do I do about it?

by:  Lisa Kennery

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If you are using the Pierce Payroll department to process your payrolls, you need not worry too much about the following information, (just forward everything to us and we’ll deal with it)  however if you are running your own payroll, you need to be abreast of the very latest in Government requirements of employers.

The Direct Earnings Attachment scheme is currently being piloted by the Department for Work and Pensions in this region and our payroll team have had to deal with the very first of these, this week.

What is a Direct Earnings Attachment?

The DWP is responsible for debt owed in the UK under the Social Security Administration Act 1992. When the secretary of state, or authority administering Housing Benefit, has not been able to recover money owed to the DWP by individuals no longer receiving benefits, the debt may be recovered by a deduction from the individual’s earnings. Unlike some other deduction orders, the DWP can issue a Direct Earnings Attachment without going through the civil courts.

Applying a DEA

A DEA has its own regulations which follow some of the workings of a Deduction from Earnings Order (DEO) and some workings of an Attachment of Earnings Order (AEO). But a DEA does not replace any of these other orders and in some circumstances employers may receive requests to implement deductions for a DEO and a DEA for the same employee. If an employee does have other deduction orders the following take priority over a DEA:

England and Wales

  • DEO for child maintenance
  • AEO for maintenance or fines
  • Council Tax Attachment of Earnings Order
  • Student Loan repayment

Direct Earnings Attachments

Full details can be found at

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Direct Earning Attachments (an employers guide) PDF

As part of the pilot, employers are being asked to operate a DEA to make deductions directly from an employee’s earnings.

Table of amounts to be deducted by employer




(Net earnings are gross pay, less tax, National Insurance and pension contributions)




(Net earnings are gross pay, less tax, National Insurance and pension contributions)

Less than and exactly £100


Exceeding £100 but not exceeding £160


Exceeding £160 but not exceeding £220


Exceeding £220 but not exceeding £270


Exceeding £270 but not exceeding £375


Exceeding £375 but not exceeding £520


Exceeding £520




(Net earnings are gross pay, less tax, National Insurance and pension contributions)




(Net earnings are gross pay, less tax, National Insurance and pension contributions)

Less than and exactly £430


Exceeding £430 but not exceeding £690


Exceeding £690 but not exceeding £950


Exceeding £950 but not exceeding £1,160


Exceeding £1,160 but not exceeding £1,615


Exceeding £1,615 but not exceeding £2,240


Exceeding £2,240


If you are using a computerised payroll system and you receive a request to set up a DEA you will need to;

1.  Manually calculate the amount to deduct from earnings.

2.  Check whether there are any other orders currently in place – as these may take priority over the DEA.

3.  Ensure that the total of all orders including the DEA does not exceed 40% of the employee’s earnings.

4.  If the total deductions exceed 40%, adjust the amount of the DEA

Your responsibilities

As an employer, you have a legal obligation to: implement a Direct Earnings Attachment when required by making deductions from the employee’s net earnings, i.e. after deduction of:

o  income tax

o  Class 1 contributions

o  Amounts deductable by way of contributions to a work place pension scheme which provides payment of annuities or lump sums:

continue to operate the DEA until the DWP advise you to stop or your employee leaves

If you fail to comply, you may be subject, on conviction, to a fine of up to £1,000.

Providing information to the DWP

you have a duty to notify them if:

  • they ask you to operate a DEA for someone who does not work for you,
  • an employee for whom you are operating a DEA leaves your employment
  • you are a new business (which starts between 8 April 2013, and 31 March 2014), or a micro business (having fewer than 10 employees), as defined in the Regulations. If you are a new or micro business you are not obliged to operate a DEA although you may do so if this is agreed with your employee.

You must write to them at the address shown on the DEA request letter within 10 days if any of the above applies to you.

To your employee  – you have a duty to:

 Notify your employee in writing of:

o the amount of the deduction taken, including any amount taken for administrative costs.

You must do this (and record it) no later than the payday after the one on which the deduction for the DEA was taken.

The definition of earnings for DEAs

The table below lists what counts and what does not count as earnings .

Counts as ‘earnings’ for DEA

What does not count as ‘earnings’ for DEAs


Statutory Maternity Pay


Statutory Adoption Pay


Ordinary Statutory Paternity Pay


Additional Statutory Paternity Pay


Any pension, benefit, allowance or credit paid by DWP, a local authority or HMRC

Overtime pay

A guaranteed minimum pension under the Social Security Act Pensions Act 1975

Most other payments on top of wages

Amounts paid by a public department of the Government of Northern Ireland or anywhere outside the United Kingdom

Occupational Pensions, if paid with wages or salary

Sums paid to reimburse expenses wholly and necessarily incurred in the course of the employment

Compensation payments

Pay or allowances as a member of Her Majesty’s forces, other than pay or allowances payable to them by you as a special member of a reserve force

Statutory Sick Pay

Redundancy Pay and Pay in Lieu of Notice