It has been proposed on the Open Data User Group that some key data held by HMRC on the VAT Register should be made publicly available.
Any changes to open this data up are likely to involve some years of debate and discussion, and would require legislation. However the possibility has at least been acknowledged.
Unlike Companies House for Limited companies, there is no complete official register of businesses that are not Limited companies, and there is no requirement for these businesses to file or disclose any financial data for public record. First Report can provide a non-Limited business credit check but the data available is limited in scope. The exact identity of the business can also be ambiguous.
VAT records could provide the basis of a Non-Limited Business Register and would provide a clear business identity and address, and financial data.
Having access to this data in a credit check would give other businesses and lenders more opportunity to assess the level of credit which is realistic for the size of the business and generally assist credit controllers in making credit decisions.
It may be some way off, but if it happens the additional data will certainly be welcomed by credit controllers.