HC Deb 26 November 1959 vol 614 cc549-50
30. Mr. Peyton

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will introduce legislation to widen the powers and discretion of trustees as regards investments.

37. Mr. Ridsdale

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when it is intended to introduce further legislation to broaden the basis of trustee investment.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Anthony Barber)

A review of the whole question is now well advanced. But this is a subject which affects many interests, and I cannot say with complete certainty when the Government's intentions will be announced. I hope, however, that it will be possible to say something more quite soon.

Mr. Peyton

My hon. Friend will be aware that the announcement, which has been awaited for a long time, is in pursuance of an undertaking given by the Government a number of years ago. Could he realise that there is a great hope that when it comes it will be good?

Mr. Barber

I am well aware of the hope my hon. Friend has expressed. I will only say that I hope it will not be long before an announcement can be made. However, I am sure he will realise that it is an important and complicated matter. It is true to say that the trustee investment list has not been changed to a great extent for about seventy years.

Mr. Ridsdale

Is my hon. Friend aware that the Lord Chancellor said in the other place in May that a comprehensive scheme was being evolved and that he hoped a public announcement would be made shortly? Is he also aware that we are a little concerned at hearing my hon. Friend say "shortly", bearing in mind the Lord Chancellor's statement in the other place last May? May I press him for early action, because this is causing considerable hardship to individuals and also to the administration of charitable trusts?

Mr. Barber

Yes, Sir. I have taken the point my hon. Friend has made and I will go a little further than the Lord Chancellor and say that I hope it will be possible to make an announcement within a few weeks.

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