HC Deb 24 November 1953 vol 521 cc195-6
53. Mr. Mulley

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what voting rights or other means of control will remain with the Iron and Steel Holding and Realisation Agency in respect of the debenture stock and preference shares which will remain in the hands of the Agency after the sale of the ordinary shares of the United Steel Companies Limited.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. John Boyd-Carpenter)

The holders of the company's preference shares have no voting rights or other control and never have had, unless the dividend on preference shares is three months in arrear or a meeting has under consideration a resolution for winding up the company or adversely affecting these shareholders in certain other respects. In such a case they would have voting rights. The holders of the debenture stock exercise no control except on the occurrence of events which give them legal rights to protect their position.

Mr. Mulley

Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that more than half the capital of this company remains in public hands and yet no control whatever is retained by the Treasury to look after public money thus invested? Will he say whether it is the policy of the Government to finance private industry with public money without taking precautions to safeguard the taxpayer's interests?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The holders of prior charges have exactly the same rights under the structure of the company as they always had. As to the second part of the supplementary question, the hon. Member will have noticed in the statement handed out by the Agency in October that it was intended to dispose of these shares in due course.

Forward to