New corporate reporting requirements which were due to come into force on 1 January 2005 are likely to be delayed for at least three months.
The potential delay, reported in the Financial Times, comes after intense lobbying from business over the timing and substance of the changes.
Next month, ministers are expected to announce a revised timetable for implementing a mandatory operating and financial review – a summary of factors affecting a company’s past and future performance, which will have to be published alongside annual reports and accounts.
The regulations will also require companies to quantify the impact of their HR policies.
Patricia Hewitt, trade and industry secretary, had said the new rules – affecting around 1,290 quoted companies and designed to improve the flow of investor information – would come in at the start of next year to ensure compliance with the European modernisation directive.
But a consultation on the draft rules triggered vocal business protests over the speed of the implementation and on issues such as the level of care required by auditors and directors to prepare a review.