HC Deb 27 October 1980 vol 991 cc5-6
3. Mr. Canavan

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he has any new proposals for changes in companies legislation.

Mr. Eyre

Yes, Sir. Over the last year my right hon. Friend has published two Green Papers and issued a number of consultative documents seeking views on possible changes. The response is being assessed.

Mr. Canavan

In view of the Lords' decision on the Vestey case, may we have an assurance on exactly how and when the Government will introduce amending legislation to close the tax loophole? Will the legislation be made retrospective, so that the millions of pounds of unpaid tax will have to be repaid to the public purse by scroungers like the Vesteys?

Mr. Eyre

The hon. Gentleman's questions on taxation are matters for my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who has already declared his intention in this matter.

Mr. Nelson

Is my hon. Friend satisfied with the action taken by the Council for the Securities Industry in stopping dawn raids on public British companies, or does he intend to introduce legislation now to outlaw them?

Mr. Eyre

The action taken by the CSI, to which my hon. Friend referred, has been admirably strong. There is a question as to whether legislation will be helpful in respect of disclosure of shareholdings. That is now being considered very carefully.

Mr. Clinton Davis

Is the Minister aware that that prevarication is most unsatisfactory, when it is abundantly plain, and should have been plain to the Government long ago, that legislation needs to be undertaken to tackle this abuse of the furtive acquisition of significant British companies by the use of nominees and overseas companies acting in concert?

Mr. Eyre

The hon. Gentleman will see in due course that all those factors have been properly taken into account.