HC Deb 01 December 1931 vol 260 cc932-3

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will consider the desirability of introducing legislation to compel public limited companies to disclose in their balance sheets the full amount of any secret or hidden reserve?


I cannot promise to introduce amending legislation, but my hon. Friend's suggestion has been noted for investigation when the question of the amendment of the Companies Act is under consideration.


Does the right hon. Gentleman propose to delay the amending legislation until another financial disaster occurs and the public have lost more money?

40. Mr. POTTER

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that events in the Criminal Courts and elsewhere have shown that the Companies Act of 1929 has failed to protect the public against unscrupulous persons working behind limited liability; and whether, seeing that in addition to the flaws in the Act revealed in the Criminal Courts a number of constructive suggestions for amendments of other defects have been forwarded to the Board of Trade, he will consider setting up a Departmental Committee to amend the Act?


For the reason given in my answer to my hon. Friends the Members for Hallam (Mr. L. Smith) and Bolton (Sir J. Haslam) on the 24th November, I do not think that the time is ripe for a fresh inquiry.


In view of recent developments as disclosed in recent trials, is there not ample evidence to show that there are weak spots in this Act, and would it not be well for a Departmental Committee to inquire and see if these holes can be stopped?


I do not think that a special inquiry is necessary. The Companies Department of the Board of Trade is keeping an eye on all these developments.