HC Deb 02 April 1957 vol 568 cc249-75
Mr. Speaker

I think that all the Amendments to Clause 12 appearing in the first section of page 1236 of the Notice Paper might be discussed together with the Amendment standing in the name of the President of Board of Trade, in page 8, line 6.

I understand that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) and his hon. Friends attach some importance to the Amendment in page 8, line 16. If it were their desire, and such a general discussion were held, I would, with the consent of the House, be prepared to call that Amendment if it is moved formally at a later stage, if the House wishes to divide on it.

Mr. Jayindicated assent.

Sir D. Eccles

I beg to move, in page 8, line 6, to leave out from "a" to "is" and to insert: company which satisfies the Board of Trade that it is and will remain a British Company and". Clause 12 provides that if the National Film Finance Corporation should be on an even financial keel and no longer required loans made to it by the Board of Trade, or require the Government guarantee, and a buyer should come along, the business could be transferred to someone who satisfied the Board of Trade that he was willing and able to make adequate finance available.

Mr. Glenvil Hall (Colne Valley)

I think that this is a new point. I do not remember it coming up in Committee. The President referred to the Film Finance Corporation being "on an even keel." Where is that in the Clause?

Sir D. Eccles

That is not in the Clause, but it is quite clear that one will not get anybody to buy the Corporation if it is making a loss—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I think it is unlikely.

Both sides of the Standing Committee raised the point that in the event of a transfer being made we ought to make certain, by writing it into the Bill, that it should be made only to a British subject; and further, that we should secure that it could not then be retransferred to someone who was not a British subject. I undertook to consider whether that could be done, and the result is the Amendment which I am now moving and that at page 8, line 19.

When we looked into it we found that we could not do it if the transfer was to a person, because any British subject could remove himself out of the United Kingdom at any time after the transfer had been effected, and we could think of no means of preventing him from so doing. We therefore had to confine the possibility of transfer to a company. It is now laid down that the company must satisfy the condition that it is and will remain a British company". In other words, a condition of the transfer would be that, in the articles or in the memorandum of association, the company had to be British controlled. We should make a further condition, that no alteration could take place in those articles without the consent of the Board of Trade.

Mr. Harold Lever (Manchester, Cheetham)

Could the right hon. Gentleman tell us where, in the Amendment tabled in his name, this restriction about the articles of association of the company and the like appears?

Sir D. Eccles

It does not, but I am explaining as best I may to the House that this is the way we shall carry out the condition as regards the company being and remaining a British company. In that way, it will not be possible for the National Film Finance Corporation to be transferred beyond British control.

Coming now to the Amendment in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay), in line 16, I do not think that it would do what he believes that it would do. The Amendment refers to the "retransfer" of "the said assets". The right hon. Gentleman will appreciate that after a very short time the only assets to be transferred would be office furniture, because the rest of the assets consist of loan agreements. They would have been paid off, and, presumably, fresh loan agreements would have taken their place. Any condition attached to the retransfer of the assets as provided for in the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment just would not do what he wants. I am satisfied that the Government Amendments do what right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite wish, and I hope, therefore, that they will see their way to agreeing to them.

Mr. Jay

The President of the Board of Trade is trying to do what we, and certain other hon. Members of the Committee, suggested, but I am not yet absolutely satisfied that he has provided a method which could be described as watertight. As the Bill was introduced by the Government, it would have been possible for the Corporation to be sold to foreign or overseas companies without any limitation at all. The right hon. Gentleman now lays it down by this Amendment that the sale is to be to a company which satisfies the Board of Trade that it is and will remain a British company. Incidentally, I do not quite know why he confines it to Great Britain rather than to the United Kingdom, but I imagine that he has some reason or other for that.

The right hon. Gentleman tells us that it is legally impossible to place this limitation upon a person. I understand his reason for that. But the first question I have to ask is whether that, in itself, does not make it possible to get round the provision by a sale being arranged to a person who then acts in the way that the President described. I take it that his Amendment makes it impossible to sell the Corporation to persons at all; it has to be sold to a company. We should like to be assured about that.

4.15 p.m.

The main point on which we do not feel sure is this. Is the obvious danger of resale to a foreign company precluded by the Minister's proposal? As I understood him, he said that the Board of Trade would make an agreement with any company to which there was a sale in the first instance that there should be a condition within its articles of association that there should be no such resale. If that is the Board of Trade's firm intention, I do not quite understand why that should not be embodied in the Amendment, putting it fairly and squarely in the Bill.

I see the defect which the right hon. Gentleman has pointed out in our Amendment. That comes from the usual difficulty of amateur or amateurish drafting by private members of the House. But even if that is defective, and even if the Minister does mean to make, presumably, a written agreement between the Board of Trade and the company, is it really impossible to amend the Bill in such a way that it is quite clearly mandatory on the Board of Trade to provide that safeguard against resale?

Mr. H. Lever

The House should be reminded that this Amendment is the supposed fulfilment of an undertaking given by the Minister to ensure that, if this Clause were put into effect by his Department, the control of the National Film Finance Corporation, occupying, as it does, a strategic position in the British film production industry, should not pass to a foreign person or company. When I challenged the President of the Board of Trade in Committee and said that if he could not come to the House and assure us, with his hand upon his heart, that his Amendment effectively prevented the control of the Corporation passing to foreigners, he should withdraw the Clause, he refused to give me any such assurance. Having seen this Amendment, I can well understand why he was reluctant to give that assurance.

The Clause in itself is a piece of doctrinaire eyewash. It provides that, some day, the Minister, if possible, can banish from his Tory sight the vision of a publicly financed body conducting business satisfactorily, effectively, in the public interest, and sell it off to a private profit-making body. That is in the best line of the old Liberal tradition. I think that Macaulay somewhere sought to prove, in several pages of short sentences, that public highways and public bridges should be run by private profit-making bodies.

To maintain in the Bill this piece of eyewash, the right hon. Gentleman has, at least, to satisfy the House about it; and I am glad to see that the hon. Member for Shrewsbury (Mr. Langford-Holt) is in his place, because even some hon. Members opposite were very restive at the idea. The Minister must show that this film bank will not pass into foreign hands which could manipulate it for ulterior purposes. He has to give an assurance to the House that he is effectively preventing it from falling into foreign control. He has now admitted, if one examines the logic of what he has said, that he cannot fulfil his own undertaking.

I ask the President of the Board of Trade, as a matter of honour, to withdraw the Clause. He has conceded that the sale cannot effectively be shackled in the manner we all desire if we leave in the word "person". That is why he has put down an Amendment, so that it can be sold only to a company, not, as originally provided in the Bill, to a person. He admits that the latter will not do, that no amount of drafting ingenuity, contractual acrobatics, or anything of that kind, will satisfactorily shackle a purchaser if he is a person, because he might start off by being British and then go overseas.

How has the right hon. Gentleman tried to solve the dilemma? He thinks that he has solved it, or pretends to solve it, by compelling the Board of Trade to assign the Film Finance Corporation, this film bank, to a company owned by persons. Of course, if he cannot shackle the person, who was originally provided for in the Bill, because he meets with the dilemma that the person might start by being a British subject living round the learner from the House of Commons, imbued with all sorts of notions about the British mode of life, but might thereafter take himself off to Honduras, the Bahamas, or Nevada, the Minister cannot shackle the people who will own the company. He has interposed merely a company.

A company is not immobile; it has no real effectiveness. It has a certain statutory or legalistic immobility, but the effective control of it rests with the persons who own the shares. If we cannot shackle persons, as the Minister has frankly admitted, and as I warned him in Committee he could not, we cannot shackle a company adequately because the company is to be controlled by persons. It is only a blind to say, "Oh, we will not allow this company to get into the control of foreigners or anything like that. It is true that if we sold it to British people we should have no guarantee, but, do not worry you have got a company." But the company is to be owned by two or more British people.

These British people can go abroad. Two British subjects may emigrate to Hollywood, and be owners of this company. The company may stay in England, but the effective direction of the company will belong with the two British subjects whose main source of livelihood may well be the Hollywood film industry. Will the Minister tell the House what there is in the Amendment that protects the Corporation from being owned by British subjects who move abroad and how he is shackling the sale any more effectively when he attempts to shackle the company than he could shackle persons which he admits he could not effectively do?

The right hon. Gentleman may try to wriggle out of it by saying that articles of association can be drafted and put upon the company which will stop the company from being able to do anything which the President does not like. Short of articles of association drafted in those terms, I know of no way by articles of association of effectively shackling the powers of a company to act detrimentally to the British film industry. I am quite sure that that is so, because the Minister does not put this in the Bill at all. He gives an undertaking that he will require some unspecified articles of association to be put in the company, articles which we have not seen, the drafting of which we have not examined, the effectiveness of which is as much open to doubt as the other efforts which the President is making to keep his undertaking.

It is all very well passing this to a company. We pass the British film bank and the safety of the British film production industry, says the Minister, to a British company. It will be truly British because it has two British subjects. But it may be that within 12 months those British subjects may be working for the Paramount Film Studios, in Hollywood. That is all right; they have still got British nationality and there is no reason under the Minister's Amendment why they should not go on controlling this key British film bank in the British film industry. Is that in the interest of the industry? Is that what the Minister had in mind when he said that he would effectively ensure that the British film bank would remain in effective British control?

Where is the guarantee to us in that respect? Quite apart from that, even if we get a company, and even if the two British people remain in Britain—if ever they were in Britain—there is still no safeguard. It is often forgotten that there are many British citizens all over the world who cannot speak a word of English. They happen to have been born on one of the rocks, archipelagos, islands or other strategic places which, in the course of our imperial history, we have acquired and which Her Majesty's Government, by their foreign policy, are rapidly throwing away.

There are many British subjects all over the world who qualify under the Clause, but who cannot speak even a word of broken English, but the Clause does not prevent them eventually becoming the owners of this so-called British company. Even if we get two original true blue Britons of the best school, as intended by the Minister in his incompetent drafting, that would not solve the problem either, for this reason.

Even if they did not sell out to two other British subjects living in any part of the globe which they choose to live in, a sale which the Minister could not prevent, the two British subjects to whom they sold out not speaking a word of English—I imagine that none of these misfortunes would occur—what happens to the business of the company?

The President of the Board of Trade, by this Clause, is giving the game away. There are no assets over which the Minister can, by articles of association or anything else, effectively control, except the goodwill. If those two British subjects choose for their own advantage or for ulterior motives or any reason whatsoever to run the business down, there is nothing whatever to stop them. The Minister says that if it were a prosperous business they would take it over. It may be prosperous at the time they took it over and they may deliberately, because of ulterior motives or other financial interests which they or their successor in title have, deliberately alter the business, cut it to a quarter, and avoid the scandal of completely and deliberately wrecking the film bank on which the British film industry depends.

People will not be able to part with their shares in the company except to a Briton. I advise the House that there is nothing to guarantee the substance of the undertaking given being implemented by this Clause. There is nothing to stop them selling any of the assets of the company to a foreigner. If a British company buys these loans it can discount them with the main American film producing organisations, if it wishes to, and place those organisations in control more or less of British film production.

The Clause is as dangerous now, in spite of this window-dressing, as it was originally. It is just as objectionable. The Minister has nominally fulfilled his undertaking, but has not done so in practice. I appeal to hon. Members opposite who are concerned to see that the British film bank does not in reality fall under foreign control to let their voices be heard on the subject and to vote upon it. I hope that the House will have an opportunity of voting upon it.

Mr. J. Langford-Holt (Shrewsbury)

Every time that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cheetham (Mr. H. Lever) makes a speech on this Clause and this particular type of Amendment it seems to be my duty to follow him. On the last occasion I was able to follow him with a great deal more closeness than I am on this occaion. The hon. Gentleman has not disappointed me in so far as he began his speech with some Socialist shibboleths and ended up with what one might call a considerable degree of common sense.

During the debate in Committee, I was the victim—I think that victim is the best word—of what I might call a considerable degree of applause from hon. Members opposite on the grounds that I abstained from voting on an Amendment. I am somewhat intimidated by the repetition of that applause today. I did it because this is an industry which, above all others, is, I think, susceptible to outside foreign influence, and, without being anti-American, I mean American influence, because it is American influence that is predominant in the film industry in this country.

In the debate in Committee I said, referring to undertakings which the Minister had given and which I would like him to incorporate in the Bill, this: If we can have this Clause with the safeguards for which I ask, so much the better. If we cannot, I think that we should be better off without the Clause."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee B, 21st March, 1957; c. 235.] Naturally, since the Committee proceedings upstairs and those on the Floor of the House I have searched my conscience as to what my attitude should be and I have watched with considerable interest for what might appear on the Notice Paper today. I have looked at these Amendments and I have come to the conclusion that if there be any shortcomings in the Amendment put down by my right hon. Friend there are certainly a great deal more shortcomings in the Amendments put down by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite.

The Amendment put down by my right hon. Friend covers, as I see it, the safeguards which I require, so far as they are coverable, and to this extent I agree with the hon. Member for Cheetham that the amount by which any President of the Board of Trade can limit the possession of power and control of any company in this country is limited. I took that stand on that occasion.

I believe that my right hon. Friend's Amendment covers the point in so far as it is coverable without an immense alteration of the whole of the law of the country as it affects company legislation, and, to that extent, I am prepared to support my right hon. Friend. I hope that, in those circumstances, the right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) will withdraw his Amendment which I, believe, goes a great deal less far than that of my right hon. Friend.

4.30 p.m.

Mr. Stephen Swingler (Newcastle-under-Lyme)

I hope that the hon. Member for Shrewsbury (Mr. Langford-Holt), who assisted us so considerably in Committee on the subject, will be prepared to think again about it, because during the Committee stage he said: This is a nationalisation Bill with, so to speak, a denationalisation Clause in it. If that denationalisation were to involve the control, benefit and advantages which we get from the industry going outside this country. I should not be able to support it."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee B, 21st March, 1957; c. 235.] Surely the plain question is whether the Amendments produced by the President of the Board of Trade do ensure that the control, benefit and advantages which we get from the industry will not go outside the country.

I noticed, that in Committee stage the hon. Member for Shrewsbury did not qualify the matter by saying "so far as is coverable." He said, in a quite straightforward fashion, that we should not support the Clause unless we could be sure that the control, benefit and advantages which we get from the industry would not go outside the country.

Let me make my position quite plain. I am still utterly opposed to the Clause. I think that it is wholly bad and ought to be dropped. As the Minister said during the Committee stage, this is a division of principle. The Minister is opposed in principle to a publicly-owned film bank. In particular, he is opposed to a successful publicly-owned film bank. One might qualify it by saying that the right hon. Gentleman is in favour of having an organisation like the N.F.F.C. so long as it is run at a loss, but that, as soon as it starts to make a profit, his point of view is that it should be sold out. I disagree fundamentally with that point of view and think it would be particularly welcome to have a successfully conducted publicly-owned film bank in Britain to stimulate the products of British films.

Let us leave that controversy on one side for a moment and consider the Amendments. In Committee, the Minister was pressed to ensure, as the hon. Member for Shrewsbury said, that the control of the assets, if they were to be sold out, should remain in British hands. That was for the very good reason that the whole purpose of this legislation is to support and develop a British film industry which, otherwise, would go under owing to the overwhelming competition from Hollywood. Therefore, it is of special importance that the control of the financial resources, as well as of the productive resources, should remain in British hands.

Does the Minister's Amendment ensure that? The Minister has not even claimed, as my hon. Friend the Member for Cheatham (Mr. H. Lever) said, that it does so. It only does so initially. It only says that, initially, the assets shall be sold to a company which is a British company and which will remain a British company.

Mr. H. Lever

My hon. Friend will appreciate that there is nothing to stop the company the next day selling out the whole lot to Hollywood—the whole of the assets of the film bank.

Mr. Swingler

My hon. Friend has anticipated me. That is exactly the point to which I was coming.

During the Committee stage we asked the Minister whether it was possible to have an Amendment which covered the point and which stated specifically that the assets must remain in Britain. The Amendments before us simply say that when the first transaction takes place between the N.F.F.C. and the company to which the assets will be sold, that company must be a British company and one which will remain a British company. That does not mean, however, that the assets will remain in Britain. There is nothing in the Amendments which ensures that the assets must remain in the country. I think that my hon. Friend is quite right when he says that on the next day the company could sell out the assets to Hollywood. There is no reason why they should keep the assets.

Mr. Langford-Holt

The hon. Gentleman says that, as his hon. Friend the Member for Cheetham (Mr. H. Lever) said, the two shareholders can cease to be resident in this country. As I understand, that point is not met in any way by the subsequent Amendment in the name of the right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) for the purposes of being resident and domiciled in the United Kingdom. What is to prevent those persons being resident and domiciled in this country the next day?

Mr. Swingler

I do not think that that is an important point. There may be a lot in it, but I should have thought that the important Amendment was the one about transferring the assets.

The Amendment which the Minister has tabled to line 19 merely defines what is a British company for the purposes of the Amendment, and who are the British subjects who may control it. It says nothing at all about the holding of the assets by this British company. All that it ensures is that in the initial arrangements over which the Board of Trade will have control this now successful publicly-owned film bank could be sold out to a private British bank or to some other privately-owned British company.

What happens after that? After that the Board of Trade has no more control over the matter whatsoever. The following week the company could enter into a business transaction with one of the great American film companies and could sell the assets out of the United Kingdom altogether. Is there anything in the Amendment to stop that? if there is not, then I agree with my hon. Friend that the Minister has not fulfilled his undertaking.

The Amendment does nothing at all to ensure that the film bank remains in British hands. Therefore, I hope that the Amendment will not satisfy the hon. Member for Shrewsbury who, quite rightly, was anxious that the "control, benefit and advantages" should remain in Britain. The Amendment only says that any foreign company wishing to come into control of the assets must get as an intermediary some British company. Having got that intermediary, the company can then make another successful transaction and the N.F.F.C. will have passed altogether out of British control.

That would be a real sell-out of a corporation into which the Government of the country had poured a considerable amount of money in an effort to make it successful. It could mean the death knell of the independent film producers of Britain. I hope, therefore, that the House will refuse to support the Amendment.

Mr. John Rankin (Glasgow, Govan)

At various times during the proceedings of the Bill the President of the Board of Trade has said that he is anxious to do his best for the British film industry. In that he has, I am sure, the support of every hon. Member on both sides of the House. It is that question which I want to pose to him in saying a few words on the Amendment.

The right hon. Gentleman knows, as we all know, that for the last thirty years the greater proportion of the films shown in cinemas in this country have been Hollywood productions. He also knows that the greatest market which the American producer has is in the United Kingdom. The American producer makes more money from exhibiting in this country than in any other part of the world. Therefore, it would be a natural sequence to this that he should in some way or another try to get a closer grip on the United Kingdom market.

It seemed to me that in incorporating Clause 12 in the Bill the Minister was providing the American producer with that opportunity. As a result of representations from this side of the House, the right hon. Gentleman agreed that he would try to prevent that happening, and that if he ever decided to get rid of the National Film Finance Corporation he would seek to ensure that it should remain in the hands of people in this country.

The Minister has gone to extraordinary lengths to do that. The Amendment which fascinates me is the one which is to be inserted at the end of line 19, because it appears to me to show the state of his mind. He proposes to insert, at the end of line 19: (3) In this section "British company" means a company incorporated under the laws of Great Britain, being a company over which a British subject has control or two or more British subjects are together in a position to exercise control or over which a company which is a British company by virtue of the foregoing provisions of this definition has control or two or more such companies or such a company and a British subject are together in a position to exercise control, and "control" has the same meaning as in section three hundred and thirty-three of the Income Tax Act, 1952. That seems to me one of the most extraordinary Amendments I have ever read.

The President of the Board of Trade sees many holes to be stopped up and I want to ask him whether he can guarantee that in that complex, compound sentence he has stopped up every hole that ought to be stopped up, and that there is no avenue through which the marauder might seek to escape. Can he guarantee that? I am certain that he cannot stand up in the House of Commons and say that there is no possibility of the forebodings of my hon. Friend the Member for Cheetham (Mr. H. Lever) being realised.

Already, the hon. Member for Shrewsbury (Mr. Langford-Holt) has gone part of the way with my hon. Friend the Member for Cheetham. He recognises the danger, and the Minister, in this extraordinary Amendment, recognises the danger, too, and knows that he has not prevented the possibility of the National Film Finance Corporation or of public money being transferred to foreign hands. Because of that, I hope that he will abandon this grotesque performance, which is what it has become. The Minister is almost a reformed character since we started the Bill. Under our guidance he has been doing very well. Why should he blot his copy book at this late stage? There is no purpose in it.

4.45 p.m.

The common complaint in the British cinema today is the competition which is being met from American films. We on this side of the House believe that there is a great avenue for British film production and for the exhibitor in this country. We believe that the National Film Finance Corporation could play a great part in helping the industry along the lines that I am certain the Minister wants to see it developing. There is a great deal of useful work that can be done in this industry in helping it to recover the market which it is tending to lose in this country, thereby helping the exhibiting side, if we try to give the National Film Finance Corporation the feeling which the Minister is shaking, that it has a permanent part to play in developing our film industry. We want it to feel that, so I hope the Minister will not shake its confidence any more than he is doing at the moment.

If the right hon. Gentleman wants to recover the good opinion which we have started to form about him, I hope that he will withdraw this Amendment, take the Clause out of the Bill, and leave the status quo.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

I do not intend to say very much because nearly everything that can be said on this Clause and these Amendments has already been said either in Committee or this afternoon. To a certain extent we are grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for having tabled these Amendments to implement the promise which he made to the Committee when we were dealing with this matter upstairs, but it must be crystal clear to him now that, in spite of his efforts, he has not managed to allay the fears which were there expressed.

I might perhaps remind the House that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade gave a verbal promise that if, and when, the Corporation passed into other hands steps would be taken by the Board of Trade to ensure that the assets and liabilities were sold to a British group of persons or company. One of us, I think it was myself, pointed out that a promise given in Committee did not appear in an Act of Parliament, that personalities in Parliament change and that reports go on to shelves and are rarely looked at once a Bill has become an Act. The right hon. Gentleman then promised that something should be done to embody in the Bill itself the promise which the Parliamentary Secretary there gave.

As we have seen, the Minister has done his best to implement in part that promise. But it is obvious to all of us, oil whichever side of the House we sit, that this is not yet watertight. It might be possible, some time before the eighteen years are up, for the British company, into whose hands the assets of the Corporation pass, to sell out again to some other company which might not be British, or which might be British and later cease to be British in that the control would pass into foreign hands.

In certain directions that would not matter, but when dealing with the film industry it is of prime importance to this country, so we think—and I believe that our feeling is shared in all parts of the House—that an organisation of this kind should for all time, so long as it is in existence, remain in British hands.

As we are all aware, a Corporation of this kind is absolutely essential to the film industry. It is quite impossible for some firms, and certainly for the independent producers, to find their own finance to make a film. It is possible for an artist—as some of us said upstairs —to spend a few shillings on a canvas and paint a great picture. He can bide his time. The independent producer is not in that position. Much money has to be spent on making a film and if the independent producer is young and without finance, as most of them are, he is incapable of showing his ability unless he has some help.

Normally, banks are not in a position, because they are not able to run too great a risk, to advance money to a young independent producer as yet untried. Some years ago it was decided, to the credit of the House, that we should set up this Corporation. It is not a bank in any shape or form. It takes a share of the profits and charges interest on the money it advances. It is an organisation set up to assist what we think is an industry of prime importance to this country and to our way of life and to the spread abroad in other parts of the world of the English way of looking at life and our tolerant attitude towards most things.

Mr. Rankin

I am sure when my right hon. Friend talks about the "English way of life" he is not using the word "English" in the sense that it excludes Scottish.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

I meant no offence to my hon. Friend, or to the country from which he comes. I am very willing to use the word "British" and if I inadvertently said "English" when I should have said "British" I apologise to him and to the House.

I will not say any more beyond asking the right hon. Gentleman whether, in view of what has been said, he will sec whether when the Bill reaches another place something cannot be done to tighten up the Clause.

Mr. Ede (South Shields)

It has come from another place.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

I believe that, as Amendments have been made to the Bill, it will have to return to another place. If I am correct in that assumption, I ask the right hon. Gentleman to have another look at this and consider whether he cannot tighten it to meet the undoubted and quite legitimate fears of hon. Members in all parts of the House.

Mr. Ede

I am not quite clear about what is meant by a "British company". Does that. include a company registered in the Channel Isles? When I held office I had considerable difficulty with companies which were not very desirable and which were registered in the Isle of Alderney. I am certain that if there is anything to be gained by using the expression "United Kingdom Company", which I think is better than "British company", it is very desirable that we should be quite clear that a company could not be registered in the Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney or Sark and then claimed to be in this position.

So far as I know, the laws of the United Kingdom do not apply to companies registered in the islands which I have mentioned. It is all right if the company is registered in the Isle of Wight, but if it is registered in any of the others it comes under company laws completely different from those which we have here. I hope it will be clear that it must be a company registered under laws which are made by the Queen in Parliament in this country.

Sir D. Eccles

I am very glad the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) has joined the discussion. He will see that in the last Amendment to Clause 12, the Amendment to insert new subsection (3), we have taken great trouble to define what a British company is within the terms of the Clause. The right hon. Gentleman referred to it as being a company incorporated under the laws of Great Britain. Great Britain does not include the Channel Isles, nor the Isle of Man.

The answer which I have to give to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay), who began by asking why it should be a British company and not a United Kingdom company is slightly different but of the same nature, namely, that we have no jurisdiction in Northern Ireland and it therefore has to be a British company. He also asked whether our Amendment made it impossible to sell to a person. The answer to that is in the affirmative; it can be sold only to a company.

The best way to answer the debate is to go through the safeguards which we shall have if a transfer takes place.

Mr. Rankin

The right hon. Gentleman is about to deal with the safeguards we shall have. Will he also mention the safeguards which we shall need?

Sir D. Eccles

The hon. Member might let me make the argument. I had hardly begun. We shall, in the first place, have the safeguard that the company has to satisfy the Board of Trade both that it is British and will remain British, and also that it is able and willing to make adequate financial facilities available. In other words, it will have to be a company of substance and the President of the Board of Trade of the day will naturally look very carefully to see whether it is a genuine purchaser or not.

The next safeguard comes in Clause 12 (2): No order shall be made under this section unless the draft of the order has been laid before the Commons House of Parliament and has been approved by resolution of that House. In the event of a sale, hon. Gentleman will have a chance to debate the Order for the transfer and to divide, and I have no doubt that they will look very carefully at the proposed purchaser of the Corporation.

However, those are the legal and Parliamentary safeguards. There is no intention at all of looking for a purchaser until this business is really commercial, on its own feet and requiring no assistance. I mean by that that, taking into account all the loans which the Corporation makes to old hands and new hands in the film production business, it is a thriving concern. I certainly would not be a party to any suggestion to transfer if I thought that the transfer would result in damage to the film production of this country, having particularly in mind the independent producers and those coming into the business for the first time.

5.0 p.m.

If, having gone through these safeguards, it should happen that the company did not conduct its business upon the scale that it had been doing before, someone else will do it if the conditions are such that it is commercially attractive to conduct this kind of loan business with producers. Hon. Members opposite fear that we might agree to a transfer at a time when it was not possible for certain producers to get the money they wanted upon commercial terms and would, therefore, require a Government organisation to find cash.

I can give the House the assurance that unless the business is a thoroughly well set up commercial concern to an extent which would make me consider that the finance could be found from other sources if anything went wrong with the company to which it was transferred, we should not contemplate a transfer at all, and if we do contemplate a transfer it will be only to a company as to whose ability and willingness to provide the money we are thoroughly satisfied—and the House of Commons will have the opportunity to say "yes" or "no" to the proposal.

I am sorry that it is not possible to make this provision absolutely and completely watertight, but I think that we can go a very long way by insisting that the memorandum of association contains a provision that the articles will not be altered without the Board of Trade's consent, and also that the articles contain a provision that if a shareholder changes his nationality or residence his shares will be automatically transferred to the nominee of the Board of Trade.

Mr. H. Lever

What earthly use will it be to secure the freezing of the articles of association of a company if that company immediately or later sells out the whole of the undertaking and assets?

Sir D. Eccles

The only answer I can give to the hon. Member is that he thinks up all the possible crooked deals and things which might go wrong…

Mr. Ede

Quite right.

Sir D. Eccles

—even so far as to say that Her Majesty's subjects who are coloured or who live outside this country are not the sort of people to whom one would want these assets transferred.

Mr. Lever

That is a preposterous suggestion. The right hon. Gentleman should not misquote me. I said that there was nothing to stop two of Her Majesty's subjects who are working in Hollywood for American film producers from having complete control of the British Film Finance Corporation, which in turn controls the greater part of British film production.

Sir D. Eccles

If the hon. Member reads tomorrow's HANSARD he will see that he also made remarks about Her Majesty's subjects living in the Colonies and overseas. I admit that it is not always possible to stop up every hole, as we were asked to do by the hon. Member for Govan (Mr. Rankin), but we have gone a very long way towards it. I can only say that I do not think that we should find anybody who turned out to be unsuitable who would be able to fulfil all the conditions and, in particular, who would accept the restrictions upon the transfer of ownership, because in no circumstances would it be possible to transfer the ownership of the Corporation outside British hands; that most definitely could not be done under the articles of association.

In the circumstances, we have done as much as it is legally possible to do, and as we have either to insert the Amendment or leave the Bill as it is, I recommend the House to accept the Amendment which, if it is operated in the spirit that I have described, will secure what hon. Members on both sides of the House want.

Mr. Jay

If I may speak again with the leave of the House, I should like to say another word upon this matter, which is one of substance. None of us wants to see the Corporation and its assets, goodwill and good work falling into the hands of foreigners or persons overseas. The real trouble is that the Government dislike public ownership so much that they would rather see the Corporation sold to a non-British company than that it should remain in the hands of the British public. If that were not the case they would drop the Clause altogether.

Both the hon. Member for Shrewsbury (Mr. Langford-Holt)—who was with us to a point—and the President admitted, in effect, that we could not make the provision completely watertight and that we should be taking some risk of the Corporation going out of British hands if the Clause remained in the Bill. That is the source of the whole difficulty.

Mr. Langford-Holt

That applies to every other British company in the country.

Mr. Jay

It would not apply to this British company if this Clause, enabling denationalisation to take place, were not in the Bill.

The Government Amendment defines a British company as one, over which a British subject has control or two or more British subjects are together in a position to exercise control.… What would happen if the two British subjects exercising control were to cease to reside in this country, or were to become naturalised subjects of some other country? The President has not met that difficulty. He may say that our Amendment is open to the same objection. If that is true, we shall be only too glad to alter it in such a way as to make it watertight.

He has also just emphasised that if the sale takes place the purchasing company will have to satisfy the Board of Trade that it is and will remain a British company. But what happens if, after the Board of Trade has been satisfied about that and after the House has discussed and voted upon the order, the people in control of the company nevertheless break the agreement? The Board of Trade and the House might have been quite sincerely satisfied with the company, but the people who made the agreement might still do something which neither the House nor the Board of Trade intended. I understood the President to say that he hoped that he could provide against that by means of the memorandum and articles of the company. If that is so, I do not see why we should not have a provision to that effect in the Bill.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Glenvil Hall) is quite right in saying that the Bill has to go back to another place in order to have the Amendments approved. This gives the President a chance of making further improvements. In those circumstances, why should he not at least offer to seek to place such a provision in the Bill in another place? If he were to make that offer, I do not think we should have to press the matter any further at the moment. If he cannot do so, however, in spite of the fact that our Amendment may be open to the objections he has specified, some of my hon. Friends will feel inclined to press the matter to a Division as a protest against the way in which it has been dealt with.

The President criticised our Amendment upon two grounds—first, that it referred to "person" rather than "company" and, secondly, that it spoke of the assets of the company. We should be quite content to change the wording to "company" if that would get round the difficulty. As to his argument about the only assets of the Corporation being office furniture, I should have thought that to the extent of its name and goodwill it certainly had some assets, even if it might not have some of the types Possessed by most companies.

I urge the President again to see whether he cannot go further in the matter. The whole debate has shown that the Clause itself is completely unsatisfactory, and in order to register our strong feelings about it, I hope that my hon. Friends will press our main Amendment to a Division if the President cannot help us any further.

Mr. H. Lever

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. Has the Amendment in the name of my right hon. Friend the Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) been called?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Charles MacAndrew)

I took the Chair at half-past four. I understood that all these Amendments to Clause 12 were being discussed together. I also understood that the second one in the name of the right hon. Member for Battersea, North would be moved and that there would be a Division.

Mr. Jay

I hope I was in order in making the speech first.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I think so. There might not have been another chance.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 8, line 11, leave out "person" and insert "company".—[Sir D. Eccles.]

Mr. Jay

I beg to move, in page 8, line 16, at the end to insert:

Provided that any such order shall contain provisions to ensure that the person to whom the said assets are transferred shall not retransfer the said assets or any of them to any third person without the consent in writing of the Board of Trade.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

I know that we have discussed this matter, but not actually on the Amendment. I thought that what my right hon. Friend the Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) said was to the point, and we have not had a reply from the President. What the President did say during his last speech was something to the effect that the consent in writing of the Board of Trade should be obtained. Those words are contained in this Amendment but not in any Amendment which the President has moved already or intends to move. I wonder whether, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman has anything to say before we vote on this Amendment. This is very important. I think we should know what is the intention of the Government.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

If that is what is desired, I have no objection, but it was not what was arranged.

Sir D. Eccles

The right hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Glenvil Hall) will see that, as the Bill is amended, the Board of Trade has to be satisfied that this British company will remain British. I have done my best to explain the most watertight way which my legal advisers

can find for doing this. I am ready to have it examined again, but I do not think I should hold out hope to right hon. and hon. Members opposite that second legal thoughts will improve on what I believe to be the best possible method.

Of course, it is open to right hon. and hon. Members opposite to vote on their Amendment, but as a matter of Parliamentary practice I should have thought it doubtful to vote to put into a Clause in the Bill something which makes nonsense of it now that we have accepted the previous Amendments.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

Surely that cannot be so about this Amendment. Otherwise it would not be in order to have selected it for a Division.

Question put, That those words be there inserted in the Bill:—

The House divided: Ayes 189, Noes 229.

Division No. 93.] AYES [5.14 p.m.
Ainsley, J. W. Edelman, M. Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.
Albu, A. H. Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) King, Dr. H. M.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Lawson, G. M.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Lee, Frederick (Newton)
Allen, Scholefied (Crewe) Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)
Awbery, S. S. Fienburgh, W. Lever, Harold (Cheetham)
Baird, J. Finch, H. J. Lewis, Arthur
Balfour, A. Forman, J. C. Lindgren, G. S.
Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.) Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Benson, G. George, Lady Megan Lloyd MacCoil, J. E.
Beswick, Frank Gibson, C. W. MacDermot, Niall
Blackburn, F. Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. McGhee, H. G.
Blenkinsop, A. Greenwood, Anthony Mclnnes, J.
Bowden, H. w. (Leicester, S.W.) Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. McKay, John (Wallsend)
Bowles, F. G. Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)
Boyd, T. C. Griffiths, William (Exchange) Mahon, Simon
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Mall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.)
Brookway, A. F. Hamilton, W. W. Mann, Mrs. Jean
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Hannan, W. Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.) Mason, Roy
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Hastings, S. Mellish, R. J.
Burke, W. A. Hayman, F. H. Messer, Sir F.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Healey, Denis Mikardo, Ian
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis) Mitchison, G. R.
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Holmes, Horace Monslow, W.
Chetwynd, G. R. Howell, Charles (Perry Barr) Moody, A. S.
Clunie, J. Howell, Denis (All Saints) Morrison, Rt.Hn.Herbert(Lewis'm,S.)
Coldrick, W. Hoy, J. H. Mulley, F. W.
Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) Hubbard, T. F. Neal, Harold (Bolsover)
Collins, V. J. (Shoreditch & Finsbury) Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.)
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Oliver, G. H.
Cove, W. G. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Orbach, M.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Hunter, A. E. Paget, R. T.
Crossman, R. H. S. Hynd, H. (Accrington) Palmer, A. M. F.
Cullen, Mrs. A. Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Panned, Charles (Leeds, W.)
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Pargiter, G. A.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Paton, John
Davies, Harold (Leek) Janner, B. Pearson, A.
Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Peart, T. F.
de Freitas, Geoffrey Jeger, George (Goole) Pentland, N.
Delargy, H. J. Jeger, Mrs. Lena(Holbn & St.Pncs.S.) Popplewell, E.
Doddt, N. N. Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Donnelly, D. L. Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch) Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Proctor, W. T.
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Pryde, D. J.
Randall, H. E. Sorensen, R. W. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Rankin, John Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank Wheeldon, W. E.
Redhead, E. C. Sparks, J. A. White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Reeves, J. Steele, T. White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Reid, William Stewart, Michael (Fulham) Willey, Frederick
Robens, Rt. Hon. A. Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R. (Ipswich) Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)
Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Stonehouse, John Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Stones, W. (Consett) Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Robinson, Kenneth (St.Panoras, N.) Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall) Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Ross, William Stross, Dr. Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent, C.) Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E. Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Short, E. W. Swingler, S. T. Winterbottom, Richard
Shurmer, P. L. E. Sylvester, G. O. Woof, R. E.
Silverman, Julius (Aston) Thomas, George (Cardiff) Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Thomson, George (Dundee, E.) Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill) Usborne, H. C. Zilliacus, K.
Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.) Viant, S. P.
Slater, J. (Sedgefield) Warbey, W. N. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Watkins, T. E. G. H. R. Rogers and Mr. Deer.
Agnew, Sir Peter Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Langford-Holt, J. A.
Aitken, W. T. Erroll, F. J. Leavey, J. A.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Farey-Jones. F. W. Leburn, W. G.
Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William Fell, A. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.
Arbuthnot, John Fisher, Nigel Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)
Armstrong, C. W Fletcher-Cooke, C. Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)
Atkins, H. E. Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone) Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Freeth, Denzil Linstead, Sir H. N.
Balniel, Lord Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D Llewellyn, D. T.
Barber, Anthony Gibson-Watt, D. Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)
Barter, John Godber, J. B. Longden, Gilbert
Baxter, Sir Beverley Goodhart, P. C. Low, Rt. Hon. A. R. W.
Beamish, Maj. Tufton Gower, H. R. Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Graham, Sir Fergus Lucas-Tooth Sir Hugh
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Grant, W. (Woodside) McAdden, S, J.
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Green, A. Macdonald, Sir Peter
Bennett, Dr. Reginald Gresham Cooke, R. Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Grimond, J. McKibbin, A. J.
Bidgood, J. C. Gurden, Harold Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)
Biggs-Davison, J. A. Hall, John (Wycombe) McLaughlin Mrs. P.
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Maclean, Fitzroy (Lancaster)
Bishop, F. P. Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfd) McLean, Neil (Inverness)
Black, C. W. Hay, John Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold(Bromley)
Body, R. F. Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G. Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)
Boyle, Sir Edward Henderson, John (Cathcart) Maddan, Martin
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Henderson-Stewart, sir J. (Fife, E.) Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. Maitland Hon. Patrick (Lanark)
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Mathew, R.
Brooman-White, R. C. Hill, John (S. Norfolk) Maude, Angus
Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Mawby, R. L.
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Hirst, Geoffrey Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.
Burden, F. F. A. Hobson, J.G.S.(War'ck&Leam'gtn) Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh
Butler. Rt. Hn. R.A. (Saffron Walden) Holland-Martin C J Moore, Sir Thomas
Campbell, Sir David Holt, A. F. Morrison, John (Salisbury)
Carr, Robert Hope, Lord John Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles
Channon, Sir Henry Hornby, R. P. Nabarro, G. D. N.
Chichester-Clark, R. Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Nairn, D. L. S.
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Horobin, Sir Ian Neave, Alrey
Conant, Maj. Sir Roger Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence Nicholls, Harmar
Cooke, Robert Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)
Cooper, A. E. Howard, John (Test) Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J. Noble, Comdr. Rt. Hon. Allan
Corfield, Capt. F. V. Hughes-Young, M. H. C. Nugent, G. R. H.
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.) O'Neill, Hn. Phellim (Co. Antrim, N.)
Crouch, R. F. Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun) Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. D.
Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Cunningham, Knox Iremonger, T. L. Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-S-Mare)
Currie, G. B. H. Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Osborne, C.
Dance, J. C. G. Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)
D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Page, R. G.
Deedes, W. F. Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Partridge, E.
Drayson, G. B. Joseph, Sir Keith Pilkington, Capt. R. A.
du Cann, E. D. L. Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot Pitman, I. J.
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Keegan, D. Pitt, Miss E. M.
Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Kerby, Capt. H. B. Pott, H. P.
Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David Kerr, H. W. Powell, J. Enoch
Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Kimball, M. Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Kirk, P. M. Profumo, J. D.
Elliott, R. W. Lambton, Viscount Raikes, Sir Victor
Ramsden, J. E. Stevens, Geoffrey Vane, W. M. F.
Rawlinson, Peter Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.) Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Redmayne, M. Steward, Sir William(Woolwich, W.) Vickers, Miss Joan
Rippon, A. G. F. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M. Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.
Robertson, Sir David Storey, S. Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Roper, Sir Harold Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray) Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Russell, R. S. Studholme, Sir Henry Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. Summers, Sir Spencer Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Sharples, R. C. Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington) Webbe, Sir H.
Shepherd, William Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne) Whitelaw, W. S. I.
Smithers, Peter (Winchester) Teeling, W. Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood) Temple, John M. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Soames, Christopher Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury) Woollam, John Victor
Spearman, Sir Alexander Thompson, Lt.-Cdr.R.(Croydon, S.)
Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.) Thornton-Kemsley, C. N. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.) Tilney, John (Wavertree) Mr. Oakshott and Mr. Wills.
Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.

Amendment made: In page 8, line 19, at end insert: (3) In this section "British company" means a company incorporated under the laws of Great Britain, being a company over which a British subject has control or two or more British subjects are together in a position to exercise control or over which a company which is a British company by virtue of the foregoing provisions of this definition has control or two or more such companies or such a company and a British subject are together in a position to exercise control, and "control" has the same meaning as in section three hundred and thirty-three of the Income Tax Act, 1952.—[Sir D. Eccles.]