HC Deb 04 November 1954 vol 532 cc581-2
21. Brigadier Medlicott

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will appoint a committee to consider the list of securities authorised for the invest- ment of trust funds, with a view to the scope of the list being extended.

Mr. H. Brooke

The Government have still under consideration the recommendations of the Nathan Committee on Charitable Trusts on this matter. I do not think there is any need to appoint a special committee to consider the question further.

Brigadier Medlicott

Is the Minister aware that, in the unhappy but unlikely event of the party opposite winning the next General Election, there would be widespread loss of confidence and possible fluctuations in the value of gilt-edged securities? Ought we not therefore to allow trustees to insure against these risks by investing at least part of their funds in the debenture or preference stock of the very well managed industrial securities which are available?

Mr. Brooke

I share the concern indicated by my hon. and gallant Friend in the first part of his supplementary question, but this subject of trustee securities is dealt with in the Report of the Nathan Committee, and I think it would be premature to make any announcement or reach any decision apart from the rest of the recommendations of that committee.

Mr. Jay

Does the hon. Gentleman think that it is particularly helpful or public-spirited of his hon. and gallant Friend to seek, for any reason, to undermine public confidence?

Brigadier Medlicott

Is the Minister aware that, over the last 20 years or so, those trustees who, under their own trust instruments, have had these wider powers of investment, have on the whole done better through this power of investing in industrial securities than they would have done by being confined to gilt-edged loans?

Mr. Brooke

I certainly think that wise trustees have done so.

Mr. Pannell

Will the Financial Secretary bear in mind the fund on which the National Liberal Party is supposed to be living, namely, the Lloyd George Fund on the sale of party honours? Does not that come into it?

Mr. Brooke

I think that question is some little distance away from the Question on the Order Paper.