HC Deb 30 March 1979 vol 965 cc884-7
Mr. Denzil Davies

I beg to move amendment No. 7, in pages 5, line 40, leave out' of the 1965 Act'.

There are other amendments which are consequential to amendment No. 7. Credit unions must have a minimum of 21 members whereas other industrial and provident societies require only seven. Clause 6(1) substitutes various sections of the Industrial and Provident Societies Act as they apply to credit unions. The amendment adds another item to the list. It substitutes 21 members for seven in a section of the Companies Act which applies to credit unions by virtue of the Industrial and Provident Societies Act. The relevant section provides for the winding up if the number of members falls below the minimum.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 8, in page 5. line 41, after '2(1)', insert 'of the 1965 Act'.

No. 9, in page 6, line 1, after '16(1)(a)(i)' insert' of that Act'.

No. 10, in page 6, line 2, leave out 'and'.

No. 11, in page 6, line 3, after '53(2)' insert 'of that Act'.

No. 12, in page 6, line 4, at end insert

',and (d) section 222(d) of the Companies Act 1948 as it applies by virtue of section 55(a) of the 1965 Act to the presentation of a petition for winding up a credit union,'.—[Mr. Denzil Davies.]

Mr. Peter Rees

I beg to move amendment No. 13, in page 6, line 30, after 'be', insert 'in the public interest and'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this we may discuss amendment No. 15, in page 6, line 35, leave out 'may' and insert 'shall'.

Mr. Rees

The registrar under clause 6 has discretionary power to waive the limit on the maximum number of members that may belong to a credit union so that they may be extended beyond a 5,000 limit. Certain reservations were expressed in our debates in Committee about this to the effect that it would enable credit unions to expand possibly to an undesirable degree given the various concessions that are made to them.

My hon. Friends and I feel that if the registrar is to have this discretionary power it must be exercised strictly. At the moment the registrar is obliged only when considering whether to waive this maximum number to consider whether such a waiver would be in the interests of the members and would not jeopardise the existence of a common bond between them. We think that it is appropriate that he should also take into account the public interest because this is not purely a matter of domestic concern to credit unions. If they expand beyond the 5,000 mark they will become vehicles of a different order. It will be necessary to see whether they can travel comfortably on the same roads with various other savings organisations and institutions. On that basis I hope that the right hon. Gentleman may feel disposed to accept this modest amendment.

4.15 p.m.

Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg (Hampstead)

I tabled an amendment which would have inserted the words nor operating contrary to the public interest. My hon. and learned Friend's amendment seemed to be more pleasantly worded, so I withdrew my amendment and added my name to amendment No. 13. In addition, I tabled amendment No. 15 because the Trustee Saving Bank is somewhat unhappy about the original drafting of the Bill.

I turn to amendment No. 15. The Treasury seems to have accepted that credit unions should not be allowed to grow to the size that they have grown in America. Therefore, the membership has been limited by clause 6. This can be amended further by statutory instrument which is subject to the affirmative procedure. Under clause 6(5) exemption can be granted under certain circumsances.

My suggestion is that instead of the word"may"it would be better to use the word"shall" so that the registrar has to take into account that the membership should not exceed whatever maximum he may have specified.

Mr. Denzil Davies

Amendment No. 13 is similar to amendment No. 14 which was not selected. We are prepared to accept amendment No. 13.

I should also be happy to accept amendment No. 15. However, there are certain consequential drafting problems involved in that amendment which might necessitate technical drafting changes. I think that we can carry out those changes in the later stages.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made: No. 15, in page 6, line 35 leave out 'may' and insert 'shall —'.[Mr. Denzil Davies.]

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