HC Deb 23 May 1963 vol 678 cc762-4

Question proposed, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.

Mr. Mitchison

This Clause is intended for the ascertainment of the market value for the purposes of the stamp. In paragraph (1, a) we read, Where the stock was offered for public subscription within twelve months before the issue of the instrument, the amount subscribed for the stock; Is that the right way to ascertain market values?

On the Stock Exchange we have what are called placings, and the result of placings always seems to me that a lucky few get the stock a good deal cheaper than anybody else. The market value of that stock might well be a good deal higher than the amount subscribed for the stock within a period of twelve months before that.

Mr. du Cann

I am interested in the point raised by the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison), and I will consider it more fully. I suggest that there is a difference between paragraph (a) and paragraph (b). I am saying this without the deep consideration which the point certainly will have, but public subscription does not necessarily coincide with quotation, and that may well be the answer to the point. The placing would presumably be under paragraph (b) rather than under paragraph (a), but I should be very happy to look at the point. In determining the market value, the object is to get the market value and not an artificially low price. I will pursue the hon. and learned Member's question with that very much in mind.

Mr. Mitchison

That does not quite meet the point. I dare say the hon. Member is right and that it will come under paragraph (b), but that paragraph refers to the value of the stock on the first day within one month after the issue of the instrument on which sock of that description is dealt in on a Stock Exchange in the United Kingdom… With these placings, what usually happens is that stock is dealt in at a price higher than that at which it is placed, and that price then, at any rate for a short period, rises quite sharply. We have had a number of instances lately. If I remember rightly, the last time this kind of thing arose in connection with a Finance Bill debate some stuff called ready-mixed concrete—which had nothing to do with the heads of Treasury Ministers, but which was stock—had recently been placed on the Stock Exchange and bad had a remarkable and rapid advance in value. In fact, one had to become Chancellor of the Exchequer before one could look at it.

Mr. du Cann

I am almost speechless after that extremely happily phrased insult which the hon. and learned Member so gaily threw at us. For once in my life I was a little ahead of him. I took the second point which he made while he was in process of making the first. I will have a good look at it.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 59 and 60 ordered to stand part of the Bill.