HC Deb 05 December 1946 vol 431 cc532-4

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

Mr. Eccles

The Clause contains an additional provision relating to deposit certificates. Subsection (1) says that if a bearer warrant is mutilated in any way by loss of a coupon or something of that kind, the authorised depositary may not do anything with the warrant without the permission of the Treasury. When I started life in the City, I used twice a year to cut the coupons, in a safe deposit in my firm. It is a fact that very often bearer warrants were short of a coupon. Perhaps a corner had been cut off or something of that kind. It will cause hardship if each one of those pieces of paper is to require the separate consent of the Treasury. I hope that, in administering the Clause, some way will be found whereby a new warrant can be issued without too much trouble to replace a warrant that has been damaged.

My second point relates to Subsection (3). At present a foreigner who holds a British security can take over the capital moneys without question when the loan is repaid. As I read the Subsection and the other parts of the Bill, that right is now taken away from the foreigner. Suppose, for example, that he holds bearer war loan and that the Chancellor, in the course of his cheap money campaign, pays off the war loan. I think that an American who held bearer war loan has the right at present to take the money out of the country. Am I right in thinking that, under the Bill, he will no longer have this right?

Mr. Birch

It appears to me that Subsection (3) of Clause 16 is inconsistent with Subsection (4) of Clause 15 because under Subsection (3) of Clause 16, without the permission of the Treasury no ordinary dividend can be dealt with by the recipients. The Subsection says: The authorised depositary…shall not permit any part of the sums received to be dealt with, except with the permission of the Treasury. whereas Subsection (4) of the preceding Clause says that the powers taken— shall not be taken as restricting the manner in which any sums lawfully paid on account of the capital moneys, interest or dividends may be dealt with by the person receiving them. In one place we have to get permission before using our dividends, whereas in the other, it is specifically stated that, in the ordinary course of business, dividends can be used without asking for permission. There appears to be some inconsistency.

The Solicitor-General

The answer to the hon. Member for Flint (Mr. Birch) is in Subsection (1) of Clause 16, which provides that Clause 16 shall virtually apply only in certain circumstances, that is to say until the provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) are fulfilled. Once the requirements of (a) and (b) are fulfilled, one is thrown back on the position under Clause 15. There is nothing in Clause 15 to prevent the owner of bearer securities who deposits them as required, from enjoying the dividends collected on those securities by the authorised depositaries.

The hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Eccles) referred to the foreign holder of a bearer certificate which is paid up and redeemed. That is a question of exemption. As the hon. Member said, the foreign holder is allowed to remit the moneys paid up on redemption, is matters stand at present. As the Bill stands there is power to prevent that, but exemption will be conferred upon the foreign holder.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.