HC Deb 20 October 1981 vol 10 cc219-20
Mr. Eyre

I beg to move amendment No. 46, in page 56, line 25, leave out 'transferred' and insert 'delivered'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this it will be convenient to take Government amendments Nos. 47 to 49.

Mr. Eyre

These amendments replace references to shares being "transferred" to the company with references to their being "delivered" to the company or purchased by it. This is to remove any implication that a stampable instrument of transfer is necessary to effect a purchase of own shares and that stamp duty is payable.

Mr. Clinton Davis

I am glad that the Minister has seen fit to do this. I think that the Law Society made the initial representations, which we reiterated in Committee. I think that this is a sensible series of amendments.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 47, in page 56, line 29, leave out 'transferred' and insert 'delivered'.

No. 48, in page 56, line 37, leave out 'transferred' and insert 'delivered to the company'.

No. 49, in page 57, line 8, leave out

'transfer of all shares purchased'

and insert

'purchase of all the shares'.—[Mr. Eyre.]
Mr. Eyre

I beg to move amendment No. 50, in page 57, leave out lines 17 to 20 and insert

'without charge—
  1. of any member of the company; and
  2. if the company is a public company, of any other person.'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: With this it will be convenient to take Government amendment No. 84.

Amendment No. 190, in clause 75, page 88, line 37, after 'prescribe' insert

'which shall not exceed £5,',

Government amendment No. 85,

Amendment No. 191, in clause 75, page 88, line 40, after 'prescribe' insert

'which shall not exceed £5,',

and Government amendment No. 86.

Mr. Eyre

These amendments prevent a company from charging for inspection of certain documents, whether by members of the company or by non-members, and specify the maximum fee which a company can charge for providing copies of the documents.

Mr. Clinton Davis

I am very glad that the Government have reacted in the way in which they have on this matter. The Minister will recall that we were somewhat concerned about the situation. I think that he has met our proposals perfectly reasonably and that he has devised a solution to the difficulties to which we referred in Committee that is preferable to our own amendment No. 190.

He will recall that the reason for our concern about the situation was that companies could easily be the sole arbiters of what the charge ought to be. I believe that it was prescribed that the company should make only a reasonable charge but the word "reasonable" can mean almost anything. We were concerned that a company that did not wish to provide the information might impose a charge that one could not realistically challenge even though it was unreasonable. It was therefore necessary to define more specifically what the company could charge.

I believe that what the Government now propose is very satisfactory indeed. It is possible that a company may not find the charge wholly acceptable, because it may find itself a little out of pocket. However, I believe that companies have a duty to the public as a whole and that the point is met by the Minister's recognition of that fact.

I therefore warmly support the Government's proposals.

Amendment agreed to.

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