§ 16. Mr. Ridley
asked the Minister of Technology if he will lay down the criteria upon which his decision to acquire privately-owned firms will be based.
§ 50. Mr. Cronin
asked the Minister of Technology if he will state the reasons upon which his decision to acquire privately-owned firms will be based.
§ Mr. Benn
As I have taken no such decision, the need for criteria does not arise. The Industrial Expansion Bill now before the House sets out the criteria and arrangements in regard to Government subscription of equity capital with the consent of the firm concerned.
§ Mr. Ridley
Will the Minister be more specific? It is no good his having a haphazard shopping list. Will he say under what circumstances he intends to acquire firms, so that we can judge whether he is meeting his own criteria?
§ Mr. Benn
I have not a shopping list. The hon. Gentleman has a list of a lot of things which he thinks that I want to buy, but he knows that this is not the provision of the Bill. The provision is that there would be participation only by consent. No compulsory powers are being taken. There is the procedure for the Advisory Committee. In any case, the House of Commons would be required to make an order on individual schemes. I recommend the hon. Gentleman to read the Bill.