HC Deb 06 February 1964 vol 688 cc1314-5
11. Sir C. Osborne

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development if he has studied the case of a finance corporation, details of which have been sent to him by the hon. Member for Louth, for which a receiver has just been appointed, which owes its bank £1,087,000, in respect of which a debenture has been in existence since 1954, and which has depositors of £1,475,000 who are likely to get nothing; what action he has taken to stop this firm advertising for deposits and to proect investors; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Heath

In accordance with our powers under the Protection of Depositors Act, my Department has already made certain inquiries in the case of a company which, it is now clear from the details which I have received from my hon. Friend, is the company to which he refers. I hope very shortly to be able to say what further action I am in a position to take.

Sir C. Osborne

I am obliged to my right hon. Friend for that information, but is it not possible for greater control to be exercised over so-called finance corporations—[interruption.]—and over second-rate lawyers as well? Can greater control be exercised over so-called finance corporations which offer high rates of interest and then subsequently get into the hands of crooks who rob people of their savings? Is it possible to provide better control of this type of so-called finance corporation?

Mr. Heath

I think that it would be unwise of me to comment further on that supplementary question.

Mr. Lipton

Does the right hon. Gentleman's reply mean that for the time being, and for an indefinite period, this company is to be allowed to go on advertising for deposits, to attract investors? Why is not he taking immediate action? Will not there be some time lag between his announcement today and effective action being taken?

Mr. Heath

The time lag will be very short indeed. The information that I have so far is that deposits are not being accepted.