HC Deb 11 March 1953 vol 512 cc1346-7

Amendment proposed: In page 17, line 36, at end, insert: (6) The appropriate department shall, in exercising their powers under the last preceding subsection, have regard to the obligation of the Agency under the last preceding section to secure an adequate consideration for the assets disposed of in the discharge of their duty under that section; and, in deciding what would be an adequate consideration for any securities or other assets so disposed of, the appropriate department shall take all material factors into account including the physical assets, capital structure, reserves and trading prospects of the company in question, and the monetary and market conditions prevailing at the time of sale.—[Mr. Boyd-Carpenter.]

Mr. G. R. Strauss

I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, after "including," to insert: the value of such securities or, as the case may be, of securities relating to such other assets, as in either case determined under and in pursuance of the provisions of Part II of the Iron and Steel Act, 1949. The principle of this Amendment has been discussed already. We stand by it, but we do not propose to divide the House on it.

Amendment to the proposed Amendment negatived.

Proposed words there inserted in the Bill.

6.15 p.m.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I beg to move, in page 17, line 41, at the end, to insert: and, if the Board inform the Agency that the proposal would seriously prejudice the efficient, economic and adequate supply of iron and steel products, the Agency shall inform the appropriate department of the Board's opinion and shall not proceed with the proposal unless the appropriate department thereafter direct them so to do; and the department shall only give such a direction as aforesaid if they have previously laid before each House of Parliament a statement setting out the proposal, the opinion of the Board and any other relevant circumstances, and a period of fourteen days has elapsed since the date on which the statement was laid. In reckoning the said period of fourteen days, no account shall be taken of any time during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued or during which both Houses are adjourned for more than four days. This Amendment has been put down as the result of an undertaking which I gave during the debate in Committee on an Amendment somewhat similar to the one we discussed earlier this afternoon regarding the relationship between the Board and the Agency. During that debate the main concern showed on the benches opposite in this connection was the possibility that the views of the Board might be ignored, or arbitrarily overruled, on questions of regrouping. I appreciated the apprehensions felt and suggested to the Committee that a procedure such as is outlined in this Amendment might meet those apprehensions.

I think hon. Members will agree that the words of the Amendment are very close to the terms of the undertaking which I gave to the Committee. They provide for a procedure which will secure that in these matters the Board is not over-ruled without the House being both fully aware of the matter and having time, if it so wishes, to hold the Minister to account.

Mr. Jack Jones

We have no objection to this Amendment, which meets substantially what we had in mind when we were in Committee, and we express our thanks to the hon. Gentleman.

Amendment agreed to.