HC Deb 12 May 1930 vol 238 cc1471-2W

asked the Minister of Transport if he is satisfied that there are sufficient safeguards in the Electricity Supply Acts to ensure that cheap and abundant supply of electricity which it was the object of those Acts to secure, if he will give a Return showing the names of companies which have capitalised reserves or issued shares to shareholders at less than market price, or adopted any other method for rendering abortive the statutory limitations of dividend's and the sums by which these companies have increased their capital by these means; and what steps he proposes to take to prevent such over-capitalisation or issue of shares under market price in future?


While certain electricity supply companies are subject to a sliding scale relating to price and dividend, there is no general statutory limitation of dividends, but I have power to revise from time to time the maximum prices which the companies are authorised to charge. Figures as to the capitalisation of reserves are being obtained, and I will furnish them to my hon. Friend as soon as they are available. Circumstances such as bonus distribution of shares could be taken into consideration in revising maximum prices under the existing law. I am, however, keeping under observation the whole question of the existing procedure for controlling electricity prices.