§ 15. Mr. Neubert
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many companies have qualified for exemption from dividend control within the last 12 months.
§ Mr. Joel Barnett
Fifty-four companies qualified for exemption from dividend control within the 12 months to the end of January on the ground that their operations are almost exclusively overseas under provisions first introduced on 20th October 1975.
§ Mr. Neubert
Is the Chief Secretary not concerned at the evidence found by the Central Statistical Office of a decline in individual investment in stocks and shares? To what extent does he attribute that loss, in recent years, to continuing dividend control?
§ Mr. Barnett
Not a lot, actually. There are many reasons for the point that the hon. Gentleman made, but I doubt whether dividend control is a major cause.