HC Deb 10 November 1960 vol 629 cc1194-5
8. Mr. Lipton

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will introduce legislation to abolish non-voting ordinary shares in public companies.

Mr. Maudling

The Committee which is reviewing company law under the chairmanship of Lord Jenkins has invited evidence on this subject. The problem is far from straightforward and I think it would be wiser to await the Committee's report.

Mr. Lipton

As it will be many years before the Committee reports and the Government legislate in the matter, would not the President of the Board of Trade at least indicate that in his view it is not in the public interest that nonvoting ordinary shares should continue to exist?

Mr. Maudling

I cannot accept the premise about the timing either of Lord Jenkins's report or Government action I am delighted to receive the hon. Member's advice, but I prefer to reserve my own views until I have Lord Jenkins's advice.

Sir J. Barlow

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in certain circumstances shares with non-voting rights perform a useful function and that it would be unfortunate if they were abolished? After all, no one needs to buy them unless he wishes to do so.

Mr. Maudling

I must avoid being tempted into these interesting fields.

Mr. Paget

In view of the take-over bids that we have been suffering from lately, would the right hon. Gentleman, on the other hand, abolish voting shares?

Mr. Maudlimg

That would be an even more interesting suggestion.