HC Deb 24 July 1969 vol 787 cc2183-4

Lords Amendment No. 5: In page 5, line 9, after "except" insert: (a) after consultation with the company in which the shares or stock are held, and (b)

Mr. William Rodgers

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

The ability to acquire shares to aid a particular tourist project under Clause 4 is seen as a means by which, in appropriate cases, the tourist boards could assist such a project by taking an equity interest rather than by making a grant or loan. One would expect this ability to be very rarely used. We had in Committee some discussion of the circumstances in which it might be desirable or at least acceptable.

In the rare case of a tourist board taking an equity interest in a company the board would, obviously, keep in touch with the company about the progress and success of the project. Since a tourist board will be concerned to help get a tourist project off the ground and to see it successful, obviously no board will act precipitately thereafter to harm the enterprise which it has helped. Common sense suggests that, should a tourist board wish to dispose of any holding, it would be likely to discuss the possibility with the company concerned. If a board has a holding in a private company, then there is bound to be some restriction on disposal and transfer of shares written into the company's articles of association.

This Amendment will require a tourist board to consult the company concerned before disposing of any shareholding in it, and though I doubt whether, on the face of it, such a provision is necessary, I cannot see any objection to it.

Mr. Blaker

Once again, this Lords Amendment meets a point made by the Opposition side in both Houses. We would have liked here also to have gone further and to have struck out the ability of the Boards to take shares or stock in companies, but, if that is not to be the position, then we think it right that, at least, consultations should take place with the companies concerned. Therefore, we welcome this Lords Amendment.

Question put and agreed to.

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