§ 4. Mr. Nabarro
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he last issued revised instructions to the Capital Issues Committee; and the nature of those instructions.
§ The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. R. Maudling)
The Committee's present guidance consists of my right hon. Friend's letter to the Chairman of 4th December, 1951, on general policy, supplemented by his letter of 3rd February, 1953, on the subject of Commonwealth investment. The terms were published in his replies to the hon. Member for Ealing, South (Mr. Maude) on 7th December, 1951, and to the hon. Member for Oldham, East (Mr. Horobin) on 3rd February, 1953.
§ 5 and 6. Mr. Nabarro
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many applications have been considered by the Capital Issues Committee for issues in excess of £50,000 since 1st January, 1953; how many have been granted and how many rejected; and what policy is to be followed in the future, in view of the general trends towards a freer economy;
§ (2) the reasons for continuing the activities of the Capital Issues Committee; and whether he will wind up the committee at an early date.
§ Mr. Maudling
The answer to the first Question is that, up to 18th November, the Capital Issues Committee had this year received 1,202 applications for consent to the raising of more than £50,000. Consent was given to 1,153 applications and 39 were refused. Ten were still being considered.
498 On the second Question, I have nothing to add to my reply on 19th November to my hon. Friend the Member for Tonbridge (Mr. G. Williams).
§ Mr. Nabarro
Will my hon. Friend say what recourse may be had by the 39 firms who were refused permission to raise additional capital in appealing against the decision of this somewhat arbitrary body; and, in view of the march of economic events during the last two years, particularly towards freer markets, would it not be desirable to raise the present limit of £50,000 to a more realistic figure of, say, £250,000?
§ Mr. Maudling
On the first point, the function of the Committee is to advise the Chancellor whether particular applications fall within or without the terms of that general policy directive, and if any particular applicant thinks that the decision in his case has been wrong—no doubt, because there are other factors which have not been taken into account—he can bring these to the notice of the Committee.
On the second point, I have seen it suggested that the figure of £50,000 should be raised, but I have seen no convincing evidence that this would in any way improve the working of the system.
§ Mr. Nabarro
In view of the somewhat inconclusive nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise this matter on the Motion for the Adjournment.