HC Deb 29 March 1983 vol 40 cc218-9
Mr. Butcher

I beg to move amendment No. 122, in page 16, line 42, after 'interest', insert 'or the commercial interests of any person'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this it will be convenient to take Government amendment No. 123.

Mr. Butcher

Parts of the licences issued by British Telecom under the powers of the 1981 Act and earlier legislation are commercially confidential. At present the Bill does not permit the Secretary of State to exclude from the register of licences which he is obliged to establish under clause 14 commercially confidential matters in licences which he issues or which are passed to him under the transitional arrangements in paragraph 1 of schedule 5 to the Bill. Nor does the Secretary of State have power to direct the Director General to exclude such matters when the Director General publishes reports made to him under clause 12 by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission on licence amendment references. In these cases, the Secretary of State can act to exclude matters only on the grounds that publication would be against the public interest. That is by no means synonymous with the commercial interests of companies, so I propose that the Bill should be amended in clause 12 and clause 14 to permit the Secretary of State to direct the Director General to exclude matters on these additional grounds.

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