HC Deb 05 June 1956 vol 553 cc861-2
25. Sir F. Medlicott

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the extent to which the bankruptcy laws are used by debtors to exploit their creditors; if he is satisfied that the law in regard to bankruptcy offences is being adequately enforced; and if he will make a statement.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Mr. Derek Walker Smith)

I am not aware that the bankruptcy laws are being used by debtors to exploit their creditors; but, if my hon. Friend has evidence of such exploitation, I suggest that he should bring it to the notice of the Committee on Bankruptcy Law Amendment which is sitting under the chairmanship of His Honour Judge Blagden. I have no reason to think that the law in regard to bankruptcy offences is not being adequately enforced.

Sir F. Medlicott

Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that many people embark upon enterprises on credit without either the hope or intention of paying up if things go wrong, knowing that they can escape their liabilities by passing through the Bankruptcy Court? Will he not look further into the question of tightening up the law relating to the obtaining of credit over and above the cases where the technical offence of obtaining money by false pretences exists?

Mr. Walker-Smith

The Blagden Committee is engaged in the task of reviewing the adequacy or otherwise of the existing law. Perhaps my hon. Friend would sympathetically consider my suggestion that he should get into touch with that Committee?

Mr. Fernyhough

Would not the hon. and learned Gentleman agree that there are far too many bankrupts now due to the policy being pursued by Her Majesty's Government?

Mr. Walker-Smith

No, Sir, I cannot accept the implication of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question.