HC Deb 05 July 1971 vol 820 cc926-7
54. Mr. Costain

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress is being made with his review of company law.

7. Mr. Carter

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress he has made towards proposals for a revised Companies Act.

Mr. Ridley

The work is still in its early stages, but we are pressing on as fast as possible.

Mr. Costain

Is not my hon. Friend able to give us an approximate estimate in months of when it is likely to be completed?

Mr. Ridley

It is a major task, and there is a great deal of consultation and discussion to take place in the course of the review. I cannot yet give my hon. Friend any indication when we may come to a conclusion.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

Rather than review the company law, why does not the Minister ensure that his Department carries out the existing law, which it continually refuses to do? Although about 20 companies now have been milking the public, not one of the Ministers at the Department will take any action to enforce the law which is laid upon them by Statute.

Mr. Ridley

That is not the impression which a good many company directors have of my Department. I put it to the hon. Gentleman that the review of comany law to which I have referred gives him a way by which he can help constructively to improve the arrangements for the future.

Mr. Normanton

Will my hon. Friend give an assurance that in this review of company legislation he will pay particular attention to the long-standing and continuing problem caused by the way in which the interests of minority holders of equities are prejudiced? This is a long-overdue reform, and I earnestly hope that my hon. Friend will pay close attention to it.

Mr. Ridley

I assure my hon. Friend that this is one of the matters which we are considering and which arises out of the Jenkins Committee's recommendations.