§ Mr. Barnett
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has yet received the Report of the Monopolies 58W Commission into the proposed mergers of Barclays, Lloyds and Martins Banks.
§ Mr. Crosland
I received the Report of the Monopolies Commission on the proposed mergers of Barclays, Lloyds and Martins banks on 8th July. The Report, which will be published as soon as posible, recommends against a merger of the three banks, or of Barclays and Lloyds together, by a majority of six to four. This does not constitute the two-thirds majority which is required under the Monopolies and Mergers Act to enable me to exercise my statutory powers to prevent a merger.
The Government, however, note the fact that a majority of the Commission was opposed to the merger and they will study the Report in order to reach their own conclusion and decide what action is needed. Account will be taken of comment on the Report and of any representations made by the banks. I cannot anticipate the decision of the Government on the issue, but I realise that a prolonged period of uncertainty would be undesirable and I shall make an announcement as soon as possible after publication of the Report.