HC Deb 30 July 1964 vol 699 cc386-7W
78. Mr. W. Clark

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development if he will now make a statement about the Report of the Jenkins Committee on Company Law.

Mr. Heath

The Government have now completed their study of the chief issues of policy raised by the Report of the Company Law Committee. Though some of the implications of the Committee's recommendations will need to be considered further before the legislation is drawn up, the Government fully support the general approach to company law on which the Report is based.

Proposals for legislation will be introduced at an early stage in the life of the new Parliament. These will include provisions designed to promote the Government's objective of greater economic efficiency, notably by ensuring that investors, creditors and the general public are given fuller information about the activities of companies. There will also be provisions for the fuller disclosure both of beneficial share ownership and of the shareholdings of companies in other companies; for the amendment of the law relating to unit trusts; for checking the undue proliferation of companies; for permitting equity shares of no par value; and for improving the procedure relating to circulars containing takeover offers.

The Government have decided that there are not sufficient grounds at this stage for them to seek powers to restrict the use of non-voting shares.

Before the legislation is drafted, the Government intend to hold discussions with banks, discount houses and shipping companies about the exemptions from certain of the accounting provisions of the Companies Act which these institutions now enjoy.

Commander Kerans

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development whether he will introduce legislation to abolish non-voting shares.

Mr. Heath

I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply given today to my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, South (Mr. W. Clark).