HC Deb 27 November 1973 vol 865 cc208-9
Q2. Mr. Redmond

asked the Prime Minister if, when he next meets the Confederation of British Industry, he will also invite representatives of the Smaller Businesses Association.

The Prime Minister

I do not plan to do so at present. The Smaller Businesses Association is always free to make representations to the Government and it was able to discuss the proposals for stage 3 at the Treasury on 18th October, along with the Association of British Chambers of Commerce.

Mr. Redmond

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that small private businesses and limited companies are very different animals from the big corporations? Does he recognise that there is some anxiety on the part of smaller businesses about possible legislation in the Companies Bill? Will he consider making special provision for small companies in that Bill?

The Prime Minister

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and the other Ministers at the Department of Trade and Industry will certainly consider that point, but I understand that the Under-Secretary of State for Industrial Development, who has special responsibility for small firms, and the Under-Secretary of State for Trade have both had meetings with the Smaller Businesses Association. They will also be meeting the Association on Thursday, and on Friday the Under-Secretary for Trade is meeting the Association of British Chambers of Commerce. So I think that these bodies have every opportunity of putting their views on commercial matters to the Ministers at the Department, including their views on the future Companies Bill.

Mr. Horam

When the Prime Minister next meets representatives of the CBI will he also invite members not of the Smaller Businesses Association but of the larger property companies? Will he tell them that it is their patriotic duty, as a contribution to phase 3, to accept a sensibly conceived tax on commercial property, since the rewards which they receive for making what are largely tasteless additions to the urban landscape are too great in relation to the rewards received by those in industry—particularly those who work in the bowels of the earth?

The Prime Minister

I do not think this is a matter with which the CBI will deal. [Interruption.] No, indeed, because matters of taxation are the responsibility of the Government and of this House and not of the CBI.