HC Deb 28 February 1972 vol 832 cc27-8
32. Mr. Trew

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will make a statement on the progress of his review of company law.

Mr. John Davies

We are pressing ahead with the work as fast as possible, with a view to making proposals for legislation.

Mr. Trew

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the high regard in which British company law is held in Europe? Will he do his best to ensure that it forms the basis of any company law in the E.E.C.?

Mr. Davies

Yes, what my hon. Friend says is absolutely correct. British company law is held in very high regard in Europe. The Community looks forward to the contribution that Britain can make to its thinking on Community company law.

Mr. Dell

Is it true that the Government have no intention of introducing a new Companies Bill for at least two years? If so, does that mean that there will be further delay in improving the requirements regarding financial disclosure?

Mr. Davies

I think it improbable that there will be any early introduction of a Bill on company law matters—at least not a wide-ranging one. It is therefore possible that there will be some delay, but it is my earnest hope to introduce a Companies Bill during the course of this Parliament.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

Is the Secretary of State aware that the existing company law gives him certain statutory rights and imposes duties on him and that his Department has consistently failed to carry out the law? There are hundreds of companies fleecing the public and taking money out of shareholders' pockets because the Secretary of State refuses to see that they carry out the law. Will he deal with about 30 cases that are on his files and have been sent to him by hon. Members on both sides?

Mr. Davies

I am very conscious of the statutory rights and duties that the British company law gives me. I am also conscious of the fact that they are dealt with with efficiency and dispatch.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

What about V. and G.?