HC Deb 15 February 1979 vol 962 cc1290-1
3. Mr. McCrindle

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is able to estimate the date of publication of the Wilson committees' report on City institutions.

Mr. Healey

I understand that the committee on the functioning of financial institutions hopes to complete its work in the latter part of this year.

Mr. McCrindle

As there is widespread expectation that that report, whenever it appears, will recommend some degree of direction of the investment of the institutions, and in view of the recent speech of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury in which he said that such direction "was not on", will not the Chancellor have great difficulty in implementing this report, no matter when it is delivered?

Mr. Healey

The hon. Gentleman should not pay too much attention to gossip which from time to time he reads in newspapers. As to what my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary has said, I cannot recall any occasion on which I have disagreed with him since we both entered the Treasury five years ago.

Mr. Ron Thomas

Will my right hon. Friend tell the House why it is that this committee is not examining those financial institutions which operate in the United Kingdom but which are registered in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man? For example, recent figures for total companies' distribution have shown that there is one company registered in Jersey for every six of its population, whereas in the United Kingdom the ratio is 1 to 72.

Mr. Healey

I am afraid I am not able to say precisely what the Wilson committee is examining. It is an independent committee established by the Government. However, I have no doubt that it is examining all matters which are relevant to its terms of reference.

Mr. Brooke

Will the Chancellor acknowledge that one of the benefits of setting up the Wilson committee has been the quite outstanding quality of the evidence submitted by City institutions?

Mr. Healey

I would certainly go so far as to say that one of the benefits of the Wilson committee's investigations has been to elicit explanation and description from City institutions which previously have preferred to keep their doings, shall I say, discreetly covered.

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