HL Deb 25 March 1963 vol 248 cc8-11

3.0 p.m.

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Clitheroe.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The LORD AIREDALE in the Chair.]

Clause 1 [Simplified transfer of securities]:

On Question, Whether Clause 1 shall stand part of the Bill?


On the Second Reading of this Bill the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, raised a point which I undertook to answer at a later stage. With your Lordships' permission I will now do so. The noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, who has told me that he is unable to be here this afternoon, was referring to a part of my speech in which I said [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 247 (No. 53), col. 702]: In order to protect the Revenue, therefore, the Government would propose to introduce a provision, most probably by way of Amendment in another place of the Bill now before your Lordships, to the effect that a transferee or his agent who receives a blank transfer must insert the name of the transferee before he allows it to go out of his possession. The noble Lord asked … should we be right, in the position in which we in this House are, in passing a Bill that affects the Finance Act and the Budget? I have been into this point, and I am advised that there is nothing to prevent the House of Lords from discussing any financial provisions. If, however, when a Bill reaches its Third Reading in your Lordships' House it is found that certain provisions of the Bill affect the Commons privilege, a Privilege Amendment is made to the Bill before it leaves this House. This renders inoperative any of the offending provisions. When the Commons receive the Bill they take out the Amendment.


We are much obliged for that statement, which makes the position quite clear. I am sorry that my noble friend is not here, but I am sure he would not disagree with what has just been said.


I do not want to deal with the point which has already been so adequately covered, but there is one other point on Clause 1 on which I should like to say a word. In his speech on the Second Reading of the Bill the noble Viscount, Lord Addison, asked about the position of London-registered Commonwealth stocks under this Bill. In reply to that point I spoke principally with reference to the position of overseas companies which had their registers here. I explained that the Parliament in the United Kingdom could not legislate for overseas companies, but that there was nothing in our law to prevent them from altering their articles of association in such a way as to permit the adoption of the revised procedure. I concluded by expressing the hope that all the overseas companies concerned would find it possible to do so and take advantage of that procedure.

The same general principle applies in relation to Colonial and Commonwealth Government stocks on registers here. Nearly all these stocks, as your Lordships probably know, have been issued in accordance with the Colonial Stocks Acts, and the position under these Acts is that in most cases authority to make and to vary transfer regulations has been conferred by the borrowing Government upon the registrars. So in most cases all that would be necessary to enable the stocks to be transferred under the new arrangements would be for the registrar to amend the regulations for the stock. In other cases, where he has not been given this power, the regulations would have to be amended by the Commonwealth Governments themselves. Even if they do not do so, or until they do so, equally, their stocks will continue to be transferable under the present arrangements. In any case, the liability to stamp duty on these stocks will not be affected in any way. I should expect that at the appropriate time arrangements would be made to change the transfer regulations in consultation as necessary with the Colonial and Commonwealth Governments concerned. Naturally, one would hope that all Colonial and Commonwealth Government stocks would be dealt with under this procedure, if it is possible.


I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Clitheroe, for dealing with the point I raised on the question of Commonwealth and Colonial stocks. I had in fact read him as having dealt with the point in his closing speech on Second Reading, but I now have a good deal more information than I had then. Let us all hope that the Colonial and Commonwealth Governments will, in due course, alter their arrangements so as to take advantage of the clause.

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clauses 2 and 3 agreed to.

Clause 4 [Interpretation]:


The object of this Amendment is to remove doubts which have been expressed about the definition in the Bill of a stock exchange transaction. It has been suggested that the existing definition might not cover a transaction in either direction between a member of a stock exchange as a principal and a client of a member. It seems to me clearly desirable that the definition should cover, in addition to the cases where both parties are members or where both parties are acting through the agency of members, the in-between hybrid cases where one party is a member and the other is acting through the agency of the member. As I emphasised earlier, the only object is to remove doubts. There is no change in the intention of the Bill as it was drafted, and I therefore beg to move that the Amendment stand part of the Bill. I hope noble Lords will agree.

Amendment moved— Page 4, line 18, leave out from ("which") to end of line 21 and insert ("each of the parties is a member of a stock exchange acting in the ordinary course of his business as such or is acting through the agency of such a member").—(Lord Clitheroe.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 4, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 5 and 6 agreed to.

Schedule 1 [Stock Transfer Form]:


I beg to move the Amendment standing in my name the object of which is, very simply, to delete certain words from the stock transfer form because, on further examination, we find that these words are totally unnecessary. One of the principal objects of this Bill is simplification, and, realising that some words on the form are unnecessary, it is only consistent with that principle that I should ask your Lordships to agree to delete them.

Amendment moved— Page 5, at the foot of the page, leave out


Delete words in italics except for stock exchange transactions. I/We confirm that the security set out above has been purchased by a stock exchange transaction within the meaning of the Stock Transfer Act 1963, and I/We request that such entries be made in the register as are necessary to give effect to this transfer.
Stamp of Buying Broker(s) (if any). Stamp or name and address of person lodging this form (if other than the Buying Broker(s)).


and insert—


I/We request that such entries be made in the register as are necessary to give effect to this transfer.
Stamp of Buying Broker(s) (if any). Stamp or name and address of person lodging this form (if other than the Buying Broker(s)).


—(Lord Clitheroe.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Schedule 1, as amended, agreed to.

Remaining Schedule agreed to.

Bill reported with Amendments.