It was announced this week that Companies House is going to make access to all its digital data free of charge by June next year. The removal of charges for this data follows an agreement by G8 leaders last year to improve corporate transparency. As a result, it will be easier for businesses and members of the public to research and scrutinise the activities and ownership of companies and connected individuals.

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills said that removing the charge would make the UK the first country to have a truly open register of business information. "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," said the business secretary, Vince Cable.

Currently users must pay a nominal charge, usually £1, for each file downloaded, but by June 2015 all this information will be free of charge. Any telephone requests will continue to incur a fee though.

Click here for the full text of the announcement.