§ Mr. Mellish
I beg to move, in page 26, line 37. at the end to insert:
and for those objects the Holding Company shall have power.
- (a) for the purpose of providing within the limits of the powers, objects and resources of the companies whose securities are transferred to the Holding Company under this Act. passenger transport, goods transport and other services adequate for public needs, to co-ordinate the activities of those companies with the services provided by the Boards, and
- (b) for the like purpose, to supervise and assist the performance by those companies of their respective functions;
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I think that it would be convenient to discuss with this Amendment that in page 26, line 42, to leave out from "enterprise" to the end of line 43.
§ Mr. Mellish
Yes, Mr. Deputy-Speaker In this Clause we are concerned with the Transport Holding Company. The Clause, as it now stands, lays down that there shall be a chairman and some twelve other directors, and that they shall be appointed by the Minister. On first reading the Clause, one would think that that was a very important body with a great deal of work to do. On the back of the White Paper of December, 1960, we find a wonderful graph drawn up for us to see at a glance the new structure under the proposed reorganisation.
The Minister there shows himself as being the head man of the show, followed by the Nationalised Transport Advisory Council. That is followed by a list of all the boards with which we have dealt earlier. Then we have the Holding Company and, associated with it, British Road Services, Tilling (Buses) Group, Scottish Omnibuses Group, hotels, road freight shipping services, 366 Thomas Cook and Son Ltd., and other holdings.
In theory, and, therefore, one would have thought, in practice, this Holding Company would be a very busy and important body, forming an enormous link with the boards, and so on. But subsection (6) tells us what the Holding Company's objects are. It states:… Subject to subsection (8) of this section. the objects of the Holding Company shall be—
We think that a great deal of effort to have produced so little, and our object in tabling this Amendment, and the Amendment that we are taking with it, is to give the Holding Company real powers, resources, and so on. We think that it should assist in co-ordinating the activities I have named with the services provided by the boards.
- (a) to hold and manage the securities vested in them by virtue of this Act, and
- (b) to exercise the rights attached to those securities … "
Here, of course, we revert, as we have done so often in the Bill, to something that means a great deal to us on this side of the House—co-ordination in the transport industry. I am sorry if that word affronts hon. Members opposite, but we on this side just cannot see how our transport system can function unless there is some linking of all the real resources of transport. Here is the real link—the Holding Company, having all the securities, and consisting of these important people with the right of representation on matters of structure, and so on, and under the chairmanship of the Minister.
We think that the Amendment would afford a great opportunity for the Holding Company to try to carry on where we feel the Bill leaves off; that is, try to get the boards and all those other bodies under the control of the Holding Company to work together for one object alone. There is no party politics in this. We must try to get some sense out of our transport industry today.
We have got into such a state over the Guillotine that even hon. Gentlemen opposite have not been able to raise questions concerning coastal shipping—and what a plight that industry is in. It is reasonable to say that the various industries connected with transport are dying on their feet. Coastal shipping is dying in the holds of the ships, for there 367 are now only two ships being repaired or built in our shipyards. This may appear irrelevant, but we have lost over 1 million tons of cargo from the rivers to the roads. How long is this to go on? Unless there is co-ordination the Government will have to introduce another Bill to try to solve this problem.
Hon. Gentlemen opposite often sneer at us because we claim the right to say what part of transport and traffic should go here from there or elsewhere. We do not, in fact, wish to do many of the things which hon. Gentlemen opposite say we want to do. We want there to be good will within the transport machinery and if the Holding Company is to have a name that makes sense, there must be co-ordination. Unfortunately, because of the wretched Guillotine, I cannot develop this point at great length.
My remarks, however, may be linked with what my hon. Friends have said in the past, that without a genuinely co-ordinated transport system working for the benefit of the nation and not just for private enterprise there will be no future for transport, whichever party is in power.
Mr. J. T. Price
The Amendment seeks to extend and enlarge the functions and duties of the Holding Company. In supporting what my hon. Friend the Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) said, I should like to illustrate what will be the practice of the Holding Company compared with the practice now observed by British Railways in its closer association with some of the subsidiary undertakings that are to be transferred to the Holding Company.
It is easy, in a matter of this complexity, to over-simplify what is taking place, and I do not wish to weary the House by an unduly technical discourse. The Fourth Schedule contains an extensive series of undertakings which are to be more closely knit and co-ordinated for administrative purposes with the railway services. I will not dwell on the significance of British Road Services as an integrated part of the British transport system because that provision is being transferred to the Holding Company for purely book-keeping reasons; to hold, buy and exchange shares in the terms defined in the Bill.
368 On page 106 of the Bill appear the names of some important companies, including Crosville Motor Services Ltd., a large and extensive road and passenger transport undertaking operating in the North-West, North Wales and Cheshire. This company has given ser vice to the public and has embodied in it the knowledge of private and public enterprise. Also listed are the Midland General Omnibus Co. Ltd., the Southern National Omnibus Co. Ltd.—
Yes. As my hon. Friend says, we must not forget Scotland. There is also the West Yorkshire Road Car Company Ltd. In all these undertakings the railway industry of Britain obtained a large financial interest way back in 1928 under what was called the square deal. When the railways were gravely embarrassed by the newly-emerging road transport, arrangements were made, even under private enterprise, for the railway companies to obtain a reasonable share of the equities subsisting in the road passenger industry.
I am told by people who ought to know, those who have been operating these arrangements, that ever since nationalisation, when many of these services were for administrative purposes integrated more closely than ever with the railways, there has been joint management between nominees of the directors of the old bus companies and nominees of the railway industry. In many cases, I understand, British railways own 45 per cent. and 50 per cent. of the shares in these companies.
It is a matter not merely of pride but of good business sense that co-operation should have existed between railway directors and bus company directors. I am sure the Parliamentary Secretary will agree that they have co-operated most efficiently, and we fear that this cooperation will be shattered by the terms of this Clause. The Clause presumably removes any kind of influence or shared responsibility on the part of the railway industry, and transfers to a Holding Company the whole of the equities and the railways' interest in the bus undertakings and subsidiary companies which are listed on pages 105 and 106 of the Bill. It is a matter of grave concern to 369 many of those who have carried out these functions as directors of bus undertakings. I know that I am entitled to quote the Ribble Bus Company, which operates in the North-West, as far as Scotland. It is a most efficient undertaking in which there has been the closest co-operation between nominees of British Railways and of the bus company.
To remove the shared responsibility and transfer it to a new amorphous body of unknown character—for we do not know who is going to be appointed to this Holding Company—will be a retrograde step and will diminish the cooperation between these sectors of the transport industry. If the declared intentions of the new management which is to take the place of the British Transport Commission is to prune and reduce in size the railway system by cutting away many of the branch lines and other lines which may be regarded as surplus, there will be greater need than ever to have the closest contact between those who operate road passenger services because they will take the place of the railway services which are closed.
Here we are, at this late stage of the Bill's passage, with a proposal which in its present form will completely sever the remaining co-operation between directors of the railways and of the bus undertakings. We say that this is not good enough. There ought to be an even closer link than exists already because of the new conditions which will prevail when the size of the railways is further reduced.
We have moved the Amendment in the hope that, by giving more closely specified and defined duties to the Holding Company—which, as we see it now, is merely to carry out a purely nominal function in holding and managing shares—we shall be able to maintain an administrative link which we regard as essential.
Without wishing to be ungenerous, uncharitable or unfair to anyone, I feel that I should make a comment about the general implication of Clause 29. The implication is that the Holding Company will have transferred to its absolute power all the shares now vested in the subsidiary companies, 370 being able to buy and sell at will, and some of us, in spite of all the smooth talk we have heard, fear that, possessed of these powers, the Holding Company will be subject to pressure by the takeover bidders to such an extent that many of these undertakings which are now national property may be put at risk and their shares may be sold off. This would be bad for the best interests of the country. Therefore, we wish the Holding Company to be strengthened in the way we propose.
§ Mr. G. R. Mitchison (Kettering)
I rise not only to agree with every word spoken by my hon. Friend the Member for Westhoughton (Mr. J. T. Price), but to protest against this monstrous and shapeless instrument of bureaucratic tyranny which only the Tory Party could have thought of establishing by the Bill. It was not even corporate to begin with. If one considers what its powers and objects are now, one finds that it has to do whatever the Minister tells it. If one looks for anything else, one finds that it has to hold and manage the securities vested in it. What else could it do?—drop them like the hot potatoes we shall be discussing later tonight?
In the next paragraph we read that it isto exercise the rights attached to those securities".With the greatest respect to the Government and their draftsmen, those are not objects at all. They are merely powers. The one thing which the Clause does not say is what the Holding Company is intended to do other than what the Minister tells it to do.
It is to take over most valuable and important pieces of property, instruments in the transport system, which are of great concern to the public and which are of considerable value not only in money terms but in any integrated transport system if the Government have not entirely given up hope of concocting something of the sort.
This body was not even corporate when it started life. It floated about in mid-air, with a few directors attached to it, with no capital and no objects. It has now been given a sort of corporate existence, but still nothing to do. The Government must not complain if we on 371 this side seek to do for them what they ought to have done for themselves and try to set out some sort of notion of what this body with its important properties and, apparently, its supposedly important place in the Bill is to do.
That is the object of the Amendment. If the Government refuse it and leave the Holding Company as it is, we can only regard it as an instrument of tyranny designed to enable the Minister to do what he chooses with the transport system, without reference to any Act to guide him and without reference to Parliament in the exercise of these wholly abnormal powers.
§ 9.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Weitzman
My attention is drawn particularly to subsection (3). The Government have created a wonderful body here. The subsection says:The chairman and other directors of the Holding Company shall be appointed from among persons who appear to the Minister to have had wide experience of, and to have shown capacity in"—I ask hon. Members to pay special attention to this—transport, industrial, commercial or financial matters, administration, the practice of the law"—I am glad that the practice of the law is included—applied science or the organisation of workers, and the Minister in appointing them shall have regard to the desirability of including among them persons who are directors of, or concerned in the management of, the principal subsidiaries of the Holding Company.All for what? This wonderful organisation is set up simply to carry out the object defined in subsection 6, which is simply to hold the securities. It is absolutely ridiculous.
§ Mr. Hay
Hon. Members opposite who have spoken—we welcome the intervention of the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) into this activity—have all enjoyed themselves very much, but they have not addressed their minds or their speeches to what their Amendment seeks to do. The hon. and learned Members for Kettering and Stoke Newington and Hackney, North (Mr. Weitzman) omitted to tell the House, though they ought to have done, that the objects already given to the Holding Company by subsection (6) are not just to hold the securities but also 372 to manage them. [Laughter.] Hon. Members cannot have it both ways. They cannot protest, as the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. J. T. Price) did, that this is a fine collection of companies and securities which are being vested in the Holding Company and at the same time pretend that these people have absolutely nothing to do in managing the securities.
I do not stop there. I go on to point out to the House that lines 3 to 5 on page 27 contain these words:and generally to carry on any business usually carried on by a holding company…Nothing could be wider than that. We do not finish even there. We go on to say:and to do all such other things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of those objects.
§ Mr. Hay
I am not being in the least trivial. Our object is to give the Holding Company the widest possible powers. I resist the Amendment, for the simple reason that it would excessively restrict the powers of the Holding Company. I will tell the House why. To begin with, it would be quite inconsistent with the concept that we have always had of the Holding Company and which we expressed succinctly in the White Paper to impose on it any obligation as to the adequacy of the transport services that it provides. The Amendment would import a restriction to make the principal object of the Holding Companyto co-ordinate the activitiesof its subsidiarieswith the services provided by thestatutory Boards—and … to supervise and assist the performance by those companies of their respective functions.The Amendment also contains these words:for the purpose of providing … passenger transport, goods transport and other services adequate for public needs…
§ Mr. Hay
Hon Members may say, "Hear, hear", but this is a restriction, because it would require the Holding Company to concern itself only with those objects, namely the co-ordination 373 of the activities of its subsidiaries with those of the Boards and the supervision and assistance of the subsidiaries in the performance of their functions, for the purpose of providing services adequate for public needs. That is a restriction.
I have resisted throughout any attempt to write into the Bill restrictions either on the Boards or the Holding Company as to the adequacy of the services which they provide. My right hon. Friend, in dealing with an Amendment earlier this afternoon relating to the Railways Board, pointed out that this country has made clear over the course of the last few years what services it wants on the railways, simply by transferring its patronage from the railways to the roads. Exactly the same situation arises in the field of bus services, road passenger services, which is the main reason for the existence of most of the companies which will go to the Holding Company.
As we know to our cost, particularly in the rural areas, people are deserting bus services and are using their own form of personal transport—cars, motor cycles, and so on. We therefore resist any attempt to write into the objects of the Holding Company an obligation on it to co-ordinate and supervise the activities of its subsidiaries under the general umbrella of providing an adequate service.
Mr. J. T. Price
Will the Parliamentary Secretary explain why so many directors of the subsidiary companies which are to be handed over lock, stock and barrel to the holding companies have sent protests to his Department about the changes which are proposed? Does he deny that he has received protests about this from the subsidiary companies?
§ Mr. Willis
As I understand it, the hon. Gentleman's argument is that the definition in the Clause is comprehensive and that the Amendment is restric- 374 tive. The important question is: are the restrictive objects in the Amendment included within the wider definition of the Clause?
§ Mr. Hay
That intervention is a little obscure, but I think I see what the hon. Gentleman is driving at. He asks: does the greater include the less? In other words, does the width of the powers in the Bill include the sort of things that we want to do? I think that that is the hon. Gentleman's point. The answer to it is that, technically, I suppose it is because any powers are within the very wide powers we have laid down.
What we do not agree with—I hope that I have made this abundantly clear—is that there should be imposed on the Holding Company a statutory obligation, whether directly or indirectly. to provide adequate services. We know to our cost, the Commission knows to its cost and our colleagues on the Select Committee on Nationalised Industries discovered, that one of the main problems of the Commission has been, as my right hon. Friend said this afternoon, to decide between what is socially justifiable and what is economically right. If we place on the Holding Company the same difficulty under which the Commission has laboured we are only asking for trouble and we should simply reproduce before long exactly the same sort of problems which have emerged in the last few years with the Commission.
The second reason why I resist the Amendment is this. As hon Members have pointed out, particularly the hon. Member for Westhoughton, the companies in List A in the Fourth Schedule as going to the Holding Company and all of those shares are owned by the Commission, are companies concerned mainly with the provision of road passenger services—bus services. Many of these companies are operating services in competition with bus services provided either by private enterprise firms or by municipal undertakings.
I cannot for the life of me see why we should impose on the State Holding Company, the State bus companies, an obligation to maintain adequate services while private enterprise and municipal competitors are under no such obligation. The point is that the Holding Company will be operating undertakings 375 which, as paragraph 24 of the White Paper states:all operate in the same general field as private enterprise, with which they are often in competition".I cannot see that it is right or desirable to impose on the nationalised bus companies operating through the Holding Company obligations which will not be on the shoulders of their private enterprise competitors.
Surely neither the nationalised transport undertakings mentioned in the Fourth Schedule nor their private enterprise competitors can run road services except under the conditions laid down by the traffic commissioners when the licences are granted. Whether it is a private company or one of those on the list of nationalised companies, it cannot play ducks and drakes with the service and maintain a licence without the authority of the traffic commissioners. The hon. Gentleman knows that perfectly well.
§ Mr. Hay
Of course I know that perfectly well. I am saying, however, that the Amendment would require the Transport Holding Company so to coordinate the activities of its subsidiaries as to provide passenger transport, goods transport and other services adequate for public needs.
Let me take an imaginary case. Let us take a remote part of the country where there are no bus services to speak of. If these words are imported into the Bill, it might well be argued that the nearest geographically to the area of the bus companies which will go to the Holding Company should be bound to provide services adequate for public needs and, therefore, should apply to the traffic commissioners for a licence. It might be quite uneconomic to operate such a service or services, but if the words of the Amendment were imported, that company would be obliged to have regard to services which were adequate for the public.
§ Mr. Ross
I do not know whether the Minister realises that one of the final 376 names in List B is that of David MacBrayne Ltd. Exactly to meet the circumstances that the hon. Gentleman thought were imaginary and unfair, David MacBrayne has to run bus as well as shipping services, and they are uneconomic. Not only that, but by the MacBrayne Order that went through the House in the early part of this Session an obligation is laid upon the Secretary of State for Scotland to ensure that that happens. Under the Clause, will the Minister of Transport be able to tell the Holding Company or the Secretary of State for Scotland to do something like that?
§ Mr. Hay
The answer to the hon. Member's question is "No". As for the other point, the hon. Member should have thought of it earlier and put down an appropriate Amendment. He has shown a belated interest in the Bill. [Interruption.] The hon. Member could have applied and, no doubt, would have joined the Committee had he been prepared to give the six months that the rest of us have given.
The case of David MacBrayne Ltd. is entirely separate and distinct, for the simple reason that it operates in those remote parts of Scotland—
§ Mr. Hay
No. I was not speaking about remote parts of Scotland. I said "remote areas of the country", not necessarily Scotland—[Interruption.]—because there is already in Scotland this special arrangement for David MacBrayne Ltd. That does not mean, however, that because we have accepted that situation for that part of the country, we are prepared to accept it throughout the rest of the length and breadth of the country. [Interruption.] I have done my best to answer the question. If the hon. Member is not satisfied, he will just have to put up with it.
There is one further reason why we must resist the Amendment. Hon. Members who have spoken, particularly the hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish), who moved the Amendment, and the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. J. T. Price), have pointed out the desirability of including in the Bill provision for co-ordination. They now 377 accept, I think, that we are not prepared to agree to the concept of integration as it has so often been put to us from the benches opposite. They say that we should be prepared to agree at least to some measure of co-ordination. My right hon. Friend and I have said that we are not against co-ordination. What hon. Members opposite have omitted to tell the House in submitting the Amendment is that there already exists in the Bill machinery for co-ordination in giving these services.
§ 9.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Hay
Let the hon. Member remember the composition of the Nationalised Transport Advisory Council. First, there is the Minister or his deputy who may take the Chair. Secondly, there are the chairmen of all the boards. The Amendment asks us to place upon the Holding Company an obligation to co-ordinate its services with those of the boards. Thirdly, there will be the chairman of the Holding Company and, in addition, a few independent people.
As we have said—I said this myself on Second Reading, and I have said it frequently throughout the passage of the Bill—the object of this council—the N.A.T.A.C.—will be to provide the top level machinery whereby services can be co-ordinated. Lower down, on the day-to-day operation level, of course. co-ordination takes place. I said that also in my speech on Second Reading, because in fact it is to the advantage of the various transport undertakings—railways, roads and so on—that their services should interlock and be coordinated. We see no reason to place in the Statute the obligation to co-ordinate in the rigid terms in which the Opposition have so frequently put it forward and in the terms in which this Amendment tries again to do so.
For these reasons—I have given three of them—we regard this Amendment as 378 restrictive, unworkable and unnecessary, and I ask the House to reject it.
§ Mr. Mapp
The contribution of the Parliamentary Secretary has been in effect to justify an aimless Holding Company—completely aimless—and in so far as he referred to lines 3, 4 and 5 on page 27 as being an additional reason for its designs and utilities it might as well make lollipops, as was said in answer to the Chancellor of the Exchequer the other day.
I want to be a little more pragmatic about this matter. I have been in transport until fairly recently, and I want to put to the Parliamentary Secretary a question about the job in the provinces where there is this co-ordination or interlocking that he has spoken about. There it has been found advisable to interlock, and I think that there should be interlocking in the future. There has been interlocking in the past because of certain common financial interests. There are reasons financially why it should dovetail. Now those reasons disappear and there will be little or no interchange between the officers at the middle range of the railways and the boards and those in the middle range of the subsidiaries.
§ Mr. Mapp
That possibly is true, but may I put the point back to the Parliamentary Secretary? There is nothing written in the Bill which has the effect of putting an obligation on either the Holding Company or its various parts to continue this happy liaison and relationship that has taken place in the past.
May I refer to the three or four areas where this relationship of happy and useful co-operation has taken place in the past? There is nothing in the Bill or in any of the articles of the Holding Company, unless we write a purpose in, and at the moment it is without a purpose. There is no obligation, unless a purpose is written in, to cover such problems as this. I think that all hon. Members know that in the Midland area the problem of the railways is one of manpower. Their wage structure relatively 379 does not enable them to command the manpower to meet the obligations that they have. In earlier winters the railways sought and in future winters they will seek to meet their obligations through B.R.S. They will, unless substantial changes are made. This happened in the past. But there is nothing written into the Bill under which B.R.S. or now the Holding Company will be under any obligation at all to do that sort of thing. It is not unusual—indeed, it is quite a usual feature—for railway terminals, freight terminals, to have seasonal volumes of traffic for cartage, delivery or collection. In the past there has been quite a happy relationship between the railway officer locally and the B.R.S. officer locally. The railway officer would arrange with the B.R.S. officer to meet that obligation and so give satisfaction to the customer by either collection or delivery. Unless we write into the articles of the Holding Company that it shall have responsibility, where shall we find any obligation for it to do this or anything other than the holding of shares?
I refer to the third feature about which, perhaps, I am a little less certain. Where in the Bill do I find an obligation on the Holding Company and its subsidiaries to fill the bill if and when a railway accident takes place and rail services are temporarily interrupted? I can find no real authority in the Bill for that. Unless we write in such a purpose and design and pattern for the Holding Company, and do so at this stage, the Holding Company will be financiers only, holding stocks and shares.
Mr. G. Wilson
The hon. Member asks where in the Bill he will find provision to enable the railways to keep alternative bus services going if there is a temporary stoppage. I refer him to Clause 4 (1, a, iii) which refers to the power to provide alternative bus services on their own, with the permission of the licensing authority. Next there is paragraph (b) which states that the Railways Board shall have power to run road transport under the Railway Road Transport Acts of 1928, which continue. I think the agreements with the bus operators also continue.
§ Mr. Mapp
The hon. Member's observations seem remarkable to me. 380 He is assuming that the Railways Board has the power he has referred to. But did I not refer to the interruption of services? Did I not by implication suggest to the House that there was a disruption, a matter of daily notice, or something of that kind? I know that as a long-term process the railways would be able to do so, with the discouragement of the Minister, but to meet working day-to-day problems they have no means within the Bill. Nor is the Minister giving them any power to do so. Nor is he demanding from the Holding Company any duty. All that he is writing into the Bill is that the Company shall have financial powers.
I can see one defect in the words of the Amendment. I admit that quite readily. The Amendment contains the word "adequate" which is anathema on that side of the House. If, however, that side of the House can see reasons why there should be some purpose and some aim for the Holding Company, then surely that side of the House would agree that that should be written into the Bill.
§ Mr. Millan
The Parliamentary Secretary in his speech on this Amendment really made two main points. The first point he made was that this Amendment was unnecessary because there were already powers under Clause 29 in the widest possible terms for the Holding Company to do whatever it might think it necessary to do, and he referred us to lines 3 to 5 on page 27 under which the Holding Company has powergenerally to carry on any business usually carried on by a holding company".Of course, those words have to be read in conjunction with subsection (4) of that Clause, and under that subsection (4) we find thatThe Holding Company shall in the conduct of their business act in accordance with such directions as may from time to time be given to them by the Minister.This brings me to the point made by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Stoke Newington and Hackney, North (Mr. Weitzman) that the real power rests not in the hands of the Holding Company but in the hands of the Minister. The Parliamentary Secretary appears to be shaking his head, but the fact is that the Holding Company will be able to exercise powers under the 381 Clause only in accordance with any restrictions laid down by the Minister in directions which he gives to the Company. Frankly, we do not trust the Minister, and that is why we move the Amendment.
Secondly, the Parliamentary Secretary said that in the co-ordination of transport the Minister was establishing a Nationalised Transport Advisory Council for a specific purpose, but Clause 55 (1) says:There shall be established…a Nationalised Transport Advisory Council for the purpose of advising the Minister on such questions relating to the co-ordination, or any other aspect, of the nationalised transport undertakings as the Minister may refer to the Council.These are the important points.
This Council can discuss only such aspect as the Minister refers to it. In other words, we have exactly the same position as we have under Clause 29, that the initiative rests with the Minister and neither the Holding Company, under Clause 29, nor the Advisory Council, under Clause 55, will be able to do anything unless it is working under powers given to it by the Minister.
In the matter of co-ordination and providing adequate services and all other important considerations which are matters of public interest, the initiative rests with the Minister. We do not consider that that is good enough, and that is why we have tabled the Amendment. Because we are not willing to trust the Minister, we want the powers of the Holding Company and the powers generally in the Bill to be laid down in the most specific terms that we can find. We believe that only by doing that can we have the transport system which the country requires.
§ Mr. Strauss
I agree wholeheartedly with my hon. Friends in their criticism of the Clause. The House should realise that the Bill divides the Transport Commission into five separate compartments. The Holding Company is one. Each of the others is given specific directions under the Bill as to what its duty is to be. The others are told that their duty is to run a railway system. Incidentally the London Board is told it should be "an adequate" system, but not the boards outside London. Yet this 382 Clause lays down no duty at all except that the Holding Company must hold certain securities, and obviously if it holds them it must manage them.
I must repeat the fact, which has already been mentioned, that so haphazard was the drafting of the Clause when we first had it that it not only had no objective but the Clause did not even say who was to appoint the chairman and directors of the company. As I said in Committee, apparently it was to come into existence by spontaneous combustion. I suggest that it would be wrong to allow this new Holding Company, with its considerable responsibilities, to be established without being fairly clear what its objectives are to be.
We are proposing something which is reasonable without being revolutionary. Plainly, it is desirable that there should be co-ordination between the various forms of transport provided by the companies transfered to the Holding Company and the services provided by the boards. Although the Bill does not say what the duty and objectives of the Holding Company should be, the White Paper says so specifically. On page 12 it says:… it will be the duty of the Holding Company to secure the best possible results for the public purse.No one objects to any public body trying to secure the best results for the public purse, but there are other public interests apart from the purse. For instance, there are the interests of the service to the public. It is desirable to see that the service is adequate for the needs of the community—although I recognise that my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, East (Mr. Mapp) thinks that the word "adequate" is anathema to Members opposite. For that reason we believe that we cannot leave the matter as it is. We cannot merely say that the sole purpose of the Holding Company is to make as much money as it can out of the public, and that the directives it will receive and the principles on which it will operate will be issued to it from time to time by the Minister. We do not know what those principles will be, but we assume that they will tend towards the same direction. We do not accept that this is sufficient.
383 Our contention is that there should be attached to this Clause a general directive, of which this House and the country should surely approve, to provide adequate services within the powers and resources of the various bus companies and of the B.R.S., together with the maximum amount of co-ordination of transport services for the benefit of the public. Such co-ordination is needed—there is no doubt about that—and there
|Division No. 166.]||AYES||[10.2 p.m.|
|Ainsley, William||Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Prentice, R. E.|
|Albu, Austen||Hilton, A. v.||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Holman, Percy||Probert, Arthur|
|Allen, Scholefleld (Crewe)||Houghton, Douglas||Proctor, W. T.|
|Awbery, Stan||Hoy, James H.||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Randall, Harry|
|Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Rankin, John|
|Blackburn, F.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Redhead, E. C.|
|Blyton, William||Hunter, A. E.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Boardman, H.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics, S. W.)||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Bowles, Frank||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N|
|Boyden, James||Janner, Sir Barnett||Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Jeger, George||Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Ross, William|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Short, Edward|
|Callaghan, James||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Kelley, Richard||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Kenyon, Clifford||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Cronin, John||King, Dr. Horace||Small, William|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Lawson, George||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Darling, George||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Snow, Julian|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Loughlin, Charles||Stonehouse, John|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Stones, William|
|Deer, George||MacColl, James||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)|
|Delargy, Hugh||McInnes, James||Stross, Dr. Bamett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)|
|Dempsey, James||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Swingler, Stephen|
|Diamond, John||Mackle, John (Enfield, East)||Taverne, D.|
|Dodds, Norman||McLeavy, Frank||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Donnelly, Desmond||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Driberg, Tom||Manuel, Archie||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John||Mapp, Charles||Thornton, Ernest|
|Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||Mason, Roy||Tomney, Frank|
|Evans, Albert||Mayhew, Christopher||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mellish, R. J.||Warbey, William|
|Finch, Harold||Mendelson, J. J.||Watkins, Tudor|
|Fitch, Alan||Millan, Bruce||Weitzman, David|
|Fletcher, Eric||Mitchison, G. R.||Whitlock, William|
|Foot, Dingle (Ipswich)||Morris, John||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Moyle, Arthur||Willey, Frederick|
|Forman, J. C.||Mulley, Frederick||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Oram, A. E.||Williams, LI. (Abertillery)|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Oswald, Thomas||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Crmrthn)||Owen, Will||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Ginsburg, David||Padley, W. E.||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Paget, R. T.||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Gunter, Ray||Pargiter, G. A.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Parker, John||Woof, Robert|
|Hamilton, William (West File)||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Hannan, William||Peart, Frederick|
|Harper, Joseph||Pentland, Norman||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Hayman, F. H.||Plummer, Sir Leslie||Mr. Ifor Davies and Mr. Grey.|
|Herbison, Miss Margaret||Popplewell, Ernest|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Barlow, Sir John||Berkeley, Humphry|
|Aitken, W. T.||Barter, John||Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Allason, James||Batsford, Brian||Bidgood, John C.|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate)||Biffen, John|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Bingham, R. M.|
|Barber, Anthony||Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm)||Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel|
§ is general agreement that it should be provided. If that is so, let us write these objectives clearly into the Bill.
§ It is in order to do that that we have moved this Amendment. If the Government do not accept it, we ask the House to divide on it.
§ Question put, That those words be there inserted in the Bill: —
§ The House divided: Ayes 161, Noes 230.
|Bishop, F. P.||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Hay, John||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Bossom, Clive||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Peel, John|
|Bourne-Arton, A.||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Percival, Ian|
|Box, Donald||Hicks Beach, Maj. W.||Peyton, John|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)||Pilkington, Sir Richard|
|Brewis, John||Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)||Pitman, Sir James|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Pitt, Miss Edith|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Hirst, Geoffrey||Pott, Percivall|
|Browne, Percy (Torrington)||Hobson, Sir John||Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch|
|Bryan, Paul||Hocking, Philip N.||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Buck, Antony||Holland, Philip||Pym, Francis|
|Bullard, Denys||Holt, Arthur||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Hopkins, Alan||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P.||Rees, Hugh|
|Chataway, Christopher||Howard, John (Southampton, Test)||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Chichester-Clark R.||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John||Renton, David|
|Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Hughes-Young, Michael||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Hulbert, Sir Norman||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Rippon, Geoffrey|
|Cleaver, Leonard||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Roots, William|
|Cole, Norman||James, David||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Collard, Richard||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Russell, Ranald|
|Cooper, A. E.||Jennings, J. C.||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Corfield, F. V.||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Sharples, Richard|
|Costain, A, P.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Shaw, M.|
|Coulson, Michael||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Shepherd, William|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford||Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green)||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver||Kerans, Cdr. J. S.||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)|
|Curran, Charles||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Smithers, Peter|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Kimball, Marcus||Speir, Rupert|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Kirk, Peter||Stanley, Hon. Richard|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Kitson, Timothy||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Deedes, W. F.||Lancaster, Col. S, G.||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|de Ferranti, Basil||Leburn, Gilmour||Stodart, J. A.|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Storey, Sir Samuel|
|Doughty, Charles||Lindsay, Sir Martin||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Drayson, G. B.||Linstead, Sir Hugh||Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)|
|du Cann, Edward||Litchfield, Capt. John||Tapsell, Peter|
|Duncan, Sir James||Longden, Gilbert||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Loveys, Walter H.||Teeling, Sir William|
|Elliott, R. W. (Nwcastle-upon-Tyne, N.)||Lubbock, Eric||Temple, John M.|
|Emery, Peter||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Errington, Sir Eric||MacArthur, Ian||Thomas, Peter (Conway)|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||McLaren, Martin||Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Farr, John||McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Finlay, Graeme||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute & N. Ayrs.)||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Fisher, Nigel||McLean, Neil (Inverness)||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||McMaster, Stanley R.||Turner, Colin|
|Foster, John||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||van Straubenzee, W. R|
|Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Maddan, Martin||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Freetth, Denzil||Maginnis, John E.||Wade, Donald|
|Gammans, Lady||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Walder, David|
|Gardner, Edward||Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest||Wall, Patrick|
|George, J. C. (Pollok)||Mathew, Robert (Honiton)||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)||Webster, David|
|Gilmour, Sir John||Mawby, Ray||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Glover, Sir Douglas||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Goodhew, Victor||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Gower, Raymond||Mills, Stratton||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Grant, Rt. Hon. William||Montgomery, Fergus||Wise, A. R.|
|Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R.||More, Jasper (Ludlow)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard|
|Green, Alan||Morrison, John||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|Grimond, Rt. Hon. J.||Nabarro, Gerald||woodnutt, Mark|
|Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Noble, Michael||Woollam, John|
|Gurden, Harold||Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard||Worsley, Marcus|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Osborn, John (Hallam)||Mr. Whitelaw and|
|Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)||Obsorne, Sir Cyril (Louth)||Mr. Michael Hamilton.|
§ Mr. Strauss
I beg to move, in page 26, line 39, after "Act", to insert:(b) to hold and manage the securities of any company formed under the provisions of the next following subsection.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir William Anstruther -Gray)
It would be convenient to discuss with this Amendment the 386 Amendment in page 27, line 5, at the end to insert:(7) Without prejudice to the provisions of section twelve of this Act, the Holding Company shall have power to form and promote a subsidiary company or subsidiary companies having as their principal object to construct or acquire and operate pipe-lines (within the 387 meaning attributed to that expression by subsection (4) of the said section twelve) anywhere in Great Britain.
§ Mr. Strauss
This Amendment differs from those we have moved so far in that it introduces a new topic to the Bill. The topic it introduces is pipelines and the possibility that it may prove desirable shortly or in a few years' time for pipe-line constructions and operation in this country to be run by a public authority.
There is a strong case for saying that pipe-lines—which are an alternative method of transport and are capable of transporting all sorts of things quite apart from oil—being a form of transport, should be co-ordinated with, and not isolated from other forms of transport. Therefore, it seems desirable, while dealing with this Bill, to provide that in the general set-up there should be established—at present, we ask only for the possibility—an element which can construct, maintain and operate pipe-lines.
The new pipe-line proposals developing in many parts of the world are a competitive form of transport. They will compete with railways and road vehicles. If, as I think everyone will agree, that that is so, there is a strong case for saying that the supervisory authority for the transport of goods by pipe-line should be the same as the supervisory authority for transport on the roads and railways. That is the Ministry of Transport. There may well be a good reason in years to come, when pipe-lines are established, to have a national policy for freights and for general matters affecting the transport of goods through pipe-lines.
Recently, we have read that there has been a big development in the United States where powdered fuel is transported considerable distances through pipe-lines. There are pipe-lines 100 miles long which transport pulverised coal in competition with the roads and the rail. The same thing may well happen here, and there are other commodities in respect of which it may happen, too.
If it is desirable that pipe-lines should form a growing and important part in the transport system of the country, it seems to us that there is a good deal to be said for bringing pipe-lines under full 388 public control and operation. We do not say, in our Amendment, that they must necessarily be under such control, but we want to ensure that there is some niche in the transport set-up in which such a publicly-owned transport system could operate, and obviously the right place is as a subsidiary of the Holding Company.
It would fit in extremely conveniently under the Holding Company, the purpose of which is to operate a variety of transport elements, including buses and lorries, and to serve the public purse. It is co-ordinated to some extent with the Railways Board and other boards set up under the Bill. The arrangements come under the Nationalised Transport Advisory Council, about which we have heard so much from the Minister, which will co-ordinate them, and, in turn, the whole system comes under the Ministry of Transport.
We therefore say that to safeguard future possibilities, we should provide, for the construction of pipe-lines to be carried out under public auspices. Steps should be taken, while the Bill is before the House, to see that there is a place in which pipe-line construction and operation under the public authority can fit.
The obvious place is as a subsidiary of the Holding Company. We think that it is not only possible but desirable that pipe-lines should be operated by some public authority. That view has been expressed strongly in another place during recent debates. To enable the construction and operation of pipelines to play a proper part in the transport system of the country, co-ordinated to a reasonable degree with other forms of transport, we have moved the Amendment, which will give the Holding Company power to form a subsidiary to construct, maintain and operate pipelines.
We commend the Amendment to the House and hope that it will receive support even from the benches opposite from hon. Members who appreciate the desirability of this step, and who recognise that if we do not take the opportunity of changing the Bill now, we may very much regret later that we missed the opportunity. I hope that the Amendment will be given warm support on both sides of the House.
§ Mr. Hay
The right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss) moved the Amendment in a very reasonable frame of mind. I hope that he acquits me of any desire to be churlish if I say that I cannot advise the House to accept it. I will try to be equally reasonable in explaining why I say that.
The whole purpose of the right hon. Gentleman's initiative was to ensure that there would be some niche in the publicly-owned transport sector from which pipe-line development and operation could be carried out.
I must point out to the right hon. Gentleman that we have already provided, not only for one but for several niches of that kind, because Clause 12 gives capacity powers to the boards to operate pipe-lines. As was made clear when we debated these matters in Committee, we take the view that the Railways Board and the Inland Waterways Authority, in particular, are most suitable bodies for operating pipe-lines, for the simple reason that they have large tracts of land in the form of permanent way along which it may well be suitable for pipe-lines to be built.
Similarly, we feel that inside the docks there may be opportunities for pipe-line operation by the Docks Board-there, more particularly, for the movement of cargoes from ship to shore Frankly, I do not think that there is much scope for pipe-line development inside London for the London Board to carry on, but one never knows. The point is that in Clause 12 we have given capacity powers to the boards to operate pipe-lines—
§ Mr. Strauss
But only along the railway lines or along the canals; not big trunk pipe-lines across the country.
§ Mr. Popplewell rose—
§ Mr. Popplewell
Clause 12 distinctly lays down that a board shall only operate pipe-lines that may be required for its own business purposes. This Amendment widens the scope, and seeks to give a subsidiary company the power to construct pipe-lines, not just for the purposes of its own business, but to go into the pipe-lines business properly.
§ Mr. Hay
I am obliged to the hon. Member, but I do not now want to embark on a long discussion of what is in Clause 12. I mentioned it merely to reply to the main point put by the right hon. Gentleman that inside the public sector of transport there should be some place from which pipe-line development may be carried on. As I have said, in Clause 12 we have given capacity powers to the boards to operate pipe-lines.
On the other hand, the Holding Company will not be possessed of any permanent way of this kind, so we think that it is not really a suitable activity for the Holding Company itself to carry on. After all, if the Holding Company did have the power to operate pipe-lines on its own initiative, it would have to do so on the normal commercial terms. It would not have any advantages vis-à-vis the boards in the operation of pipelines. It would still be charged a rent, and it would still be under the same disabilities as would any other private undertaking in obtaining rights to operate a pipe-line over those territories. Therefore, our general view is that in so far as it is desirable for the public sector of transport that the boards should have power to operate pipe-lines we should stay as we are, conferring those powers on the boards.
There is another and very compelling reason why we do not want to get the Holding Company mixed up in the pipelines business, and why we should maintain the boards in that rôle. This is as I said when the right hon. Gentleman gave notice in Committee that he might raise this point at this stage of the Bill. As we know, the Railways Board and the Inland Waterways Authority are to start their existence with the virtual certainty for some years to come of substantial deficits.
Therefore, anything we can do to ensure that their revenues are improved, we should do. Frankly, from the point 391 of view of the taxpayer—who ultimately, must find the money if deficits are made—it does not really matter whether the Railways Board and the Inland Waterways Authority make a profit out of their pipe-line development and operation and, therefore, their deficit is by that much reduced—or whether the Holding Company, as the Amendment would have it, carries out the pipe-line development and operation and makes a profit, which again comes back to the Exchequer. It is as broad as it is long.
I appreciate the way in which the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss) moved the Amendment and the reasons behind it, but our view is that since pipe-line development and operation is not a field that should be excluded from the public transport sector, we should, at this stage, make a choice as to where and how it should be done. Our choice is that it should be done through the boards and not the Holding Company, which does not seem to us a body altogether suitable or suited to this type of work. On the other hand, the boards are more suited because they have waterways and tracts of land on which they can themselves construct and operate pipe-lines.
For these reasons, I ask the House to reject the Amendment, unless the right hon. Member for Vauxhall, in the light of what I have said, is willing to withdraw it.
§ Mr. Strauss
It seems to us doubtful whether Clause 12, which gives boards certain powers to construct and operate pipe-lines, in fact gives them full power to do so if it is for business other than their own and on ground they do not possess. I am doubtful about this.
If the Parliamentary Secretary says that it is the intention of the Government that boards should have full power to operate and construct pipe-lines—even if they are doing so not for their own businesses, or on their own land—and if the Clause does not already contain such powers that he will look at it again and include those powers, I will certainly withdraw the Amendment. But as I read Clause 12 those powers are not given.
§ Mr. Hay
With the leave of the House, I would draw the right hon. Gentleman's 392 attention to what is stated in Clause 12 in its new form, because we amended it substantially in Committee. The Clause starts off by saying that the Boards will have the power to… construct and operate pipe-lines …Subsection (1, b) then states:.…to enter into transactions with other persons for the construction or operation by those other persons of pipe-lines on land…belonging to the Boards".So there is this general capacity power.
Subsection (2) also states thatthe Boards shall not have power to acquire land for the purpose of constructing pipelines …in two cases. They are:
I mentioned the docks case.
- "(a) where the pipe-line is or is to be mainly on land belonging to the Boards and acquired for other purposes, or
- (b) where the pipe-line is required for the purposes of the business of the Board other than the operation of pipe-lines."
Meanwhile. subsection (3) states:A Board shall not without the consent of the Minister construct any pipe-line unless the pipe-line is required for the purposes of the business of the Board other than the operation of pipe-lines.So what emerges, as I see it, from all these provisions is that the boards have power to construct and operate pipelines as one of the businesses that they can carry on—but not, of course. as their main business. If one were to extend their activities further, to the acquiring of additional land for the extension of pipe-lines, that is regulated by the Clause. They cannot go into the pipe-line business on a grand scale, because we want to keep them to their set task. They cannot, throughout the country, set up pipe-lines everywhere although individual projects could, of course, be authorised by the Minister and the necessary consent power is contained here. That is the best explanation I can give.
§ Mr. Strauss
I am not fully satisfied with that answer, but I think that it might be possible to pursue the matter further in another place.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. Marples
I beg to move, in page 27, line 5, at the end to insert:(7) It shall be the duty of the Holding Company to exercise its control over any wholly-owned subsidiary of the Holding Company so 393 as to secure that the subsidiary does not engage in manufacture or production except the manufacture or production of things for use in their own business or for supply to a Board, or a wholly-owned subsidiary of any of the Boards or of the Holding Company, for use in their business.For the purposes of this subsection the expression "wholly-owned subsidiary" means a subsidiary all the securities of which are owned by the body of which it is a subsidiary, or by one or more other wholly-owned subsidiaries of that body, or partly by that body and partly by any wholly-owned subsidiary of that body.394 It will be difficult to explain this Amendment in the short time that remains till half-past ten, but I suppose I can start by saying—
§ It being half-past Ten o'clock, further consideration of the Bill, as amended, stood adjourned.
§ Bill, as amended (in the Standing Committee and on recommittal), to be further considered Tomorrow.